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Observations about TOPIC and LO oddities in the CED

February 20, 2024

The CED (Course and Exam Description) for AP chemistry is chock-full of edubabble BS and always has been. So in and of itself, coming across weird stuff that makes no sense is nothing new, but recently a couple of things came to my attention that had escaped me previously, that make absolutely no sense.

Now before I go on it’s worth noting that we’ve seen problems with the CED before including where the AP Chemistry Czar himself admitted that there were statements that are not factually accurate persisting in the CED. That’s in addition to things that were plain wrong in the original CED regarding alloys and their properties. Anyway, the latest odd things relate to some of the TOPICS and their associated LOs.

The first relates to TOPIC 6.9 Hess’s Law. Of all 91 TOPICS in the CED, 6.9 is the only one that has two LOs associated with it; ENE-3.C and ENE-3.D which state,

Represent a chemical or physical process as a sequence of steps

Explain the relationship between the enthalpy of a chemical or physical process and the sum of the enthalpies of the individual steps

What this really means is that there ought to be an extra TOPIC, labeled 6.10 to split these LOs across two TOPICS. Assuming that 6.9 would retain the label 6.9 Hess’s Law, the ‘new TOPIC could have a title such as, 6.10 Hess’s Law Application.

The second odd thing was brought to my attention by David Lee Powell – thanks David. A quick look at TOPICS 3.9 and 3.10 shows that they have the same LO, SPQ-3.C! It states,

Explain the relationship between the solubility of ionic and molecular compounds in aqueous and non-aqueous solvents, and the intermolecular interactions between particles

TOPICS 3.9 and 3.10 are titled, Separation of Solutions and Mixtures Chromatography, and Solubility respectively.

What this means is that if we were to maintain TOPICS 3.9 and 3.10, SPQ-3.C should really be split into two, separate LOs, something like

  • Explain the relationship between the separation techniques of chromatography and distillation in terms of particle interactions (3.9)
  • Explain the relationship between the solubility of ionic and molecular compounds in aqueous and non-aqueous solvents in terms particle interactions (3.10)

Of course the irony is this. Any person who takes a pragmatic, sensible view of the CED, i.e., from the POV of a teacher actually delivering the course and not a theorist embroiled in edubabble, one would read the TOPIC titles for 3.9 and 3.10, and understand – without the need to read the language of the LOs – that simply teaching chromatography, distillation, and the chemistry behind ‘like dissolves like’ would do the job. Ho Hum.

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