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College & Workforce Readiness

Eavesdrop as Teachers Score AP Essays

By Catherine Gewertz — June 09, 2011 1 min read
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Ever wonder what goes on in those rooms where teachers gather to score the free-response portions of the AP exams? You can get a limited slice on Twitter.

College Board Vice President Trevor Packer has been tweeting from the AP Readings this week. You can follow along here. More than 11,000 high school and college teachers are holed up in several cities across the country to grade 12 million essays and open-response items.

His tweets don’t reveal as much as we all would like (natch), but there are some interesting tidbits in there. They range from mundane bits on logistics (“Retesting was required in several schools where the spacing requirements weren’t met—students faced each other across the table”) to intriguing glimpses of the future, such as a preview of how the AP U.S. History exam is being redesigned (“teachers will focus on 3 colonies in depth, rather than trying to cover all 13 superficially”). Anticipating your next question on the APUSH redesign, Packer later tweeted that yes, teachers will be able to choose which three colonies to focus on, as long as they are from different regions.

Some of Packer’s tweets touched on the ongoing work to get the right balance between breadth and depth on the exams: “Subjects that currently generate the most concern about breadth: Physics, the Histories, Biology,” and “76% of U.S. History Readers feel the exam pressures them to sacrifice depth to breadth—exactly why the redesign is so necessary.” (Check here for more info on the College Board’s exam revisions.)

According to another tweet, teachers are clamoring for the College Board to release more exams. “Working on a plan to release a full exam every year starting 2012-13 (for 16 largest subjects),” Packer tweeted.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.