This past week, the ALSDE/A+ College Ready Program brought together AP Math and Science teachers to conduct the annual Mock AP Exam Reading. This process allows our Program School teachers to "see" their students’ current ability to be potentially successful on this year's coming 2015 AP exams, which are just 3 weeks away. While I can only speak for my portion of the mock exam, science, the results look great again! (Knocking on wood.)
For the last consecutive six-year period, Alabama has ranked #1 in the nation in percentage increase in students willing to step up and take an AP Math, Science, and/or English class. While it is awesome that more students are taking rigorous AP courses, we have also been, according to the National Math and Science Initiative’s annual report, #1 in the nation in percentage increase in passing those AP exams for all students and also #1 in percentage increase in minority passing score success too!
How does Alabama do it? First we have incredible, hard-working students who have incredible, hard-working, determined teachers! Second, we have provided teachers, from 8th grade to AP, with a proven and successful curriculum that gets more accomplished in less time. We will have a 7th grade curriculum added by the end of this school year. This method makes the classes more engaging and fun for students by allowing them to "see" the beauty that is science everyday. Teachers are also reporting being much happier teaching science everyday and also having smarter, less labor-intensive, assessments. Instead of solely focusing on content, these assessments have been designed to work precisely on exact student weaknesses: critical reading, graphic interpretation, thinking logically, math skills, and writing descriptive and concise answers to the question actually asked. Students build confidence for these new harder application-level questions over the course of the school year, but also from year to year. The proof is in the AP scores and increasing ACT science reasoning scores for schools that are in our program. While most students in our program increase 5-6 points, we have a huge number that have increased by 10+ points and earned full ride scholarships to our fantastic Alabama Universities. Lastly we provide a unique set of trainings from Advanced Placement Summer Institutes, Fall 2 Day workshops for AP teachers, Mock AP Exam Readings, and multiple 4-hour Saturday Study Sessions led by accomplished veteran teachers for our students.
This year we have again many more students of all demographics enrolled in AP classes all over the state of Alabama. We currently work in about 120 high schools, but next year will expand to close to 150 high schools.
We just concluded the mock AP exam readings with the help of former AP Biology Chief Reader Dominic Castignetti from University of Loyola - Chicago, AP Chemistry Question Leader Paul Price of the Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth Texas, AP Physics 1 practice test development committee member Dr. Nick Giordano from Auburn University, and A+ College Ready veteran program teacher Eric Muth, Pell City high school, for Environmental Science. The scores, by question, looked much better than any previous years! The overall scores will most likely be better too, once our amazing staff finishes compiling all of them.
All in all, Alabama looks very determined to keep that AP success ranking, by working smarter and not harder. I can't wait to see the scores in July! I also want to offer thanks to Alabama Governor Dr. Robert Bentley, Alabama State Legislators, and the State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice for the continued financial support of the ALSDE/A+ College Ready Program! We promise to keep up the incredible effort moving forward to help Alabama students and teachers improve statewide, with your continued support. Additionally, thank you to the Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) and the AMSTI/ASIM program for helping support our program teachers and course developments.
If you want more information, and to view some of the Pre-AP building course materials go to: www.apluscollegeready.org
and look under the resources tab to view. There are no assessments there, as to maintain testing security and integrity.
Wishing our incredible students and teachers much success! You all ROCK!
Guest post from Robert Summers, Science Content Director
Originally posted via LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-does-science-teaching-success-look-like-see-college-summers?trk=hb_ntf_MEGAPHONE_ARTICLE_POST
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Thirty additional high schools across the state have been selected to participate in a successful statewide initiative, which will increase the number of students prepared for the challenge of college courses.
Led by expert Content Director Robert Summers, the above group is working to create curriculum materials for 7th
grade Life Science, which incorporates lessons from NMSI’s Laying the Foundation training.
Alabama led the nation in percent increase of qualifying scores on AP math, science in English exams during 2008-2014. In this guest post from Robert Summers, A+ College Ready Science Content Director, he explains why that honor may hold true this year too.