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Current (July 2012) summary of AP Chemistry Course re-design

June 27, 2012

This is my current understanding of the process, with information pulled into one place from a multitude of sources. If anything is factually incorrect (ignoring my editorializing), please comment.

1. New AP Chemistry Exam In May 2014 – New course ‘teaching’ will begin in August 2013, with those teachers that address a longer term view with a pre-AP class needing to think about things in August of 2012.

If you want to read the reasoning you can (in various articles on the College Board web site and elsewhere that point to ‘research’), but essentially what’s the point? It’s done!

2. New Curriculum Framework – This is NOT the final course description, it will eventually evolve into a new course description (i.e., a new Acorn book).

3. New Audit – needed, since there are changes.

My understanding of the hoops to jump through to get an audit ‘approved’, are as follows;

* it must mention all 16 labs (see below), PLUS an outline of how 6 of them are being done in an inquiry manner

* it must commit 25% of time must be for lab work

* it can be submitted as early as March 2013, but the final date is Jan 31 2014, although Sept 1 2013 is suggested

* it must also incorporate the new nomenclature of of ‘Big Ideas’, ‘Enduring Understandings’, etc.

* there will still be no follow up, i.e., still just the exam, i.e., STILL a question of professional integrity and exam scores being a guide to the quality of the course

4. New Lab Manual – 16 inquiry based labs.

I wrote one.

* What’s the current status? Finished piloting around June 20th, 2012. Currently editing and adding lots of extra stuff about inquiry. Latest reviews due on July 20th for re-presentation to AP teachers on July 23rd @ workshops.

* Date for publishing book and availability? Spring 2013 (Feb/March)

* Free .pdf version online behind the audit wall

* Do I need to do the labs exactly as outlined? No.

5. New Practice Exam? – What will the questions look like?

Yes, BUT not until June 2013, but one every year is promised!

6. What Does All This Stuff (Edubabble)  mean? – Big Ideas, Enduring Understandings, Essential Knowledge, Science Practices etc.???

New Curriculum Organization

New Curriculum Organization

Answer, ‘not much’. A bunch of edubabble that is STILL just be examined via the exam, so the chemistry is still the chemistry! Only place we might see significant changes is in the insistence of ‘lab design’.

7. So What’s New And IN, What’s Old And OUT? – Changes to content

Currently this is still not 100% finalized as far as I can see (we will have to wait for new Acorn book), but see blog post (Sept 2011, so I will re-visit this in time) which summarizes MY interpretation of the new curriculum framework document;

* Good = specific learning objectives and exclusion statements make it more like the English (A Level) specifications

* Bad = too much biology, some important things cut out, why NOT have memorization? I suspect over-emphasis on new nomenclature will be a distraction – remember, the chemistry is STILL the chemistry

*Confusion for me = one thing I DON’T see (that CB keeps going on about), is a significant reduction in content to allow concentration on depth not breadth!

8. New Exam – Slightly new format.

* MCQ, 50% weight, 60 questions, 90 mins

* FRQ, 50% weight, 7 questions, 90 mins. 3 multi-part questions (longer 20-25 mins), 4 single part questions (shorter 5-10 mins)

* New equations sheet (for whole exam), no SERP table

WILL include;

* experimental design (inquiry)

* analysis of data

* emphasis on diagrammatic representations of molecular level representations

Question examples are in here on pages 31-38.

1 Comment

  1. krismc

    I am doing development for an online AP Chem course this year in order to be ready for the changes coming in 2013-14. Any suggestions on getting a list of these 16 labs before spring of 2013? Our development typically needs to be completed by spring in order to be rolled out in the fall. So, waiting until spring won’t work for me. Any suggestions or insight you have would be greatly appreciated!


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