Sunday, July 15, 2012

AP Results

-Only two 1's out of both classes. Makes me wonder what little push over the edge all those 2's needed. In #apcompgov, it was simple study.

-Dead on national averages in both #apush and #apcompgov. Frustrating as hell, although #apcompgov rose almost 15% from last year.

Those were two tweets from last year when I received my AP test score results.  This year’s results are in and the end game is a combination of good news, bad news. 

Good News.  I still only had two students get a 1, even though more students took AP tests this year. 

Bad News.  There were a lot of students scoring a 2. 

Good News.  There were hardly any 3 scores.  Why is that good?  Because there are a whole lot of 4’s and 5’s.  In fact the interesting aspect of the test results were how either you had a 2 or a 4/5; either you know what was going on or you didn’t. 

Good News.  AP Comp Gov scores went up about 9% from last year.  That means that since 2010, scores have risen from about 40% passing to over 60% passing.  When I looked at my overall pass rate since I started teaching AP Comp Gov, it is still well over the national average.

Bad News.  APUSH scores went down about 5% to just below the national average.  Again, a single 1 and a bunch of 2’s, and a lot of 4’s and 5’s.

Good News.  With the exception of three or four students, the scores were not entirely surprising.  A couple of students that I thought would do better actually did not pass.  While students that had a very traumatic year blitzed the test. 

Bad News.  English Language Learners taking the test did very poorly.  How poorly?  Let’s just say that if half would have passed (depending on the class) it could have been a 15-20% bump. 

What do all the results say? 

Well after reading the instructional reports I notice that students performed above the mean in nearly every category on the test except one; Free Response Questions.  Now, in AP Comparative Government I’m going to over look some of the written scores because simple nuances in wording could be the tilt between getting an answer right and wrong.  Some of the nuances are a bit ridiculous and students that might have known an answer didn’t get it right because they fumbled with words.  However the FRQ’s in APUSH are disconcerting.  We worked on writing a whole lot and it seems like the act of building legitimate evidence into a workable essay is proving to be quite a problem.  It seems like more time needs to go not necessarily into how to write the essay as much as how to integrate the APUSH information into a logical argument, and then get that down on paper.  There are ways to do that and I’m guessing I need to work on it during Week One.

While I’m not excusing the results, I will say that there is a correlation between the enrollment policy in APUSH, and the dropping of test scores.  My first year’s APUSH student entry was almost entirely controlled by grades, teacher recommendations, and writing.  Now APUSH is open enrollment and I never tell a kid not to take the AP test.  Again, not an excuse but something that should be taken into consideration.

I think I’m a better teacher in both AP classes as engagement is way up, and more and more students leave the class feeling like they actually learned something.  Now the challenge is the translate that into moving those 2’s to 3’s while maintaining the sizable numbers of 4’s and 5’s. 

Let’s do it!   

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