The recent fuss over units of “kJ per mole of REACTION” on 2007, 2

May 23, 2007

Having analyzed all of the comments (both on and off the AP listserv) in regards to this matter, the following are perfectly clear to me;

1. James Spencer’s article actually makes a decent argument for using the “kJ per mole of reaction” in terms of chemistry and the units of ∆G. For the record I don’t like it much, but if I had to live with it I could.

2. This concept is most definitely NOT being used with any kind of regularity among common AP texts, nor in AP classrooms across the country. Many, very experienced teachers are simply not on board with this nomenclature. As a result, to say this is potentially confusing to candidates is a huge understatement.

3. #1 notwithstanding, the College Board/Test Development Committee has made a serious error here by not introducing the relevance of this concept to the exam in a much bolder way. Another horrible effort at communicating with those of us on the ground.

4. #3 is exactly the same kind of error that the CB/TDC made when not properly introducing examples for the new question #4 format – that was a shambles, so is this. There appears to be a disconnect between the TDC and the teachers.

In summary, there may not necessarily be any problem with the chemistry in this instance, and in that respect I disagree with some of my more upset colleagues, but you simply cannot conduct public examinations and standardizing testing in this manner.


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