Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why AP Bio may become great

I have mixed feelings about teaching AP Biology. See the last post...

I love teaching, I love science, and I prefer to keep the two together in my classroom. Alas, my hands have been tied a bit by the AP auditing process, but I get the reasons.

If my high school wants an official AP stamp on the school transcripts, I have to deliver the product promised by the College Board. That in itself is not the problem. That the course has become a bit of a bear, though, has become a problem, and the College Board said last year it planned to fix this.

Yesterday, I got to see a video in a poll on some of the specifics of their new plan--I am ecstatic!

The College Board has created a course that puts inquiry first. The focus will be on science, not minutiae.

Kim Foglia teaches AP biology, and she does it extremely well. She has done it for years, and she shares her ever evolving resources at her Explore Biology website.

For me, Kim's biggest strength has been her unflagging dedication to teaching science. I kept a folded letter she sent out to new AP teachers struggling to march through the AP curriculum, reminding us to teach to the joy of science, to teach biology, not a curriculum.

Ironically, her students consistently nailed the AP test.

Guess who's on the committee revising the course?

This is going to be GREAT!


Philip said...

Thanks for the link and the two posts this morning about AP Biology. I'm sharing them both with the AP Bio teacher at my school along with the link. On a slightly separate note, I wanted to say that I appreciate your blog - specifically, the way you share your passion for all things organic with brutal honesty and gentle humor. You challenge me to think about things from a broader perspective so I keep coming back.

doyle said...

Dear Philip,

Thank you for the kind words.

I have a love/hate relationship with AP Bio, but I think we're close to a wonderful change in the right direction.