Perspectives on AP Biology Revisions Lynn Meldru, AP Biology Teacher, Cheltenham High School, Wyncote, PA Tanya Sharpe, The College Board, Advanced Placement Program-Science
Recommendations for Revising AP Science Courses A 2002 National Research Council Report recommended • The primary goal of AP should be to help students develop a deep understanding of the organizing concepts and principles in Biology. • Curricula for advanced study should emphasize depth of understanding over exhaustive coverage of content. • Curricula should focus on central organizing concepts and principles and the empirical information on which those concepts and principles are based. • Curricula should be focused on a reasonable number of concepts that can be studied in depth. Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Sciencein U.S. High Schools, National Research Council, 2002
Positive Feedback for the AP Biology Revisions “The changes to the AP Biology course provide greater emphasis on the type of scientific inquiry that increases reasoning skills and conceptual understanding…. …These revisions represent a major reform in science education that will enable many more young Americans to experience science as a special "way of knowing" about the world.”Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-Chief, Science “The scientific community is reacting positively to the changes to the AP Biology exam… …The changes will more closely align what goes on during a high school biology course with the current ‘best practices’ for introductory college biology.” Steven L’Hernault, Professor and Dept Chair, Emory University “The College Board took criticisms to heart, and has been working with hundreds of college professors and high school teachers to develop the new approach.” NY Times (Jan 2011)
…And validated through a study with 60 biology department chairs and faculty at leading institutions
Validation study participants indicated the new curriculum has achieved its stated goals • Faculty view the new AP Biology curriculum as effective in preparing students for success from day one in sequent biology courses. • Overall, biology professors feel that the College Board has found a sufficient balance of breadth versus depth with the new AP Biology curriculum. • Biology professors have a relatively favorable view of students taking this new curriculum in high school and obtaining credit towards introductory biology in college.
AP Biology Curriculum Framework Supports and Enhances Conceptual Knowledge Big Ideas Enduring Understandings Science Practices:Science Inquiry & Reasoning Essential Knowledge Learning Objectives
Curriculum Framework: Big Ideas The unifying concepts or Big Ideas increase coherence both within and across disciplines. A total of Four Big Ideas: 1 The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life. B I G I D E A 2 Biological systems utilize energy and molecular building blocks to grow, reproduce, and maintain homeostasis. B I G I D E A 3 Living systems retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes. B I G I D E A 4 Biological systems interact, and these interactions possess complex properties. B I G I D E A
Reduction in Content Breadth & Increase in Depth • New approach: Essential content + skills + inquiry • New structure:4 Big Ideas, 17 Enduring Understandings • New transparency into exam: Learning Objectives, Formula List, Usage of Calculators • Breadth reduced in four ways: • Factual recall reduced for exam • Teacher choice of illustrative examples • Explicit exclusion statements in Curriculum Framework • Specific content reductions
1. Factual Recall Reduced for Exam Learning Objectives provide transparency and boundaries for what content and science practices will be assessed Essential Knowledge 1.A.3 Genetic drift is a non-selective process occurring in small populations Content Skill Learning Objective + Science Practice 1.4 The student can use representations and models to solve problems qualitatively and quantitatively. Learning Objective 1.6 The student is able to use data from mathematical models based on the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium to analyze genetic drift and effects of selection in the evolution of specific populations.
2. Teacher Choice of Illustrative Examples Rather than trying to cover all topics, teachers have flexibility to focus on one specific example for in-depth study Example from Big Idea 3 3A3c. Certain human genetic disorders can be attributed to the inheritance of single gene traits or specific chromosomal changes, such as nondisjunction. To foster student understanding of this concept, instructors can choose an illustrative example such as: - Sickle cell anemia - Tay-Sachs disease - Huntington’s disease - X-linked color blindness -Trisomy 21/Down syndrome - Klinefelter’s syndrome
3. Explicit Exclusion Statements in Curriculum Framework Example from Big Idea 2 In plants, physiological events involve interactions between environmental stimuli and internal molecular signals. Evidence of student learning is a demonstrated understanding of each of the following: 1. Phototropism, or the response to the presence of light 2. Photoperiodism, or the response to change in length of the night, that results in flowering in long-day and short-day plants ✘Memorization of the names, molecular structures and specific effects of all plant hormones are beyond the scope of the course and the AP Exam.
4. Specific Content Reductions • Chemical foundations of biology • Cellular organelles and their function • Structural and physiology features of animal form & function (Organ/System of the Day) *Only 3 systems are required: Immune, Endocrine & Nervous • Structural & physiological features of Prokaryotes to Vertebrates (March across the Phyla) • Specific stages of cleavage, blastulation, gastrulation and the comparisons of these stages in different organisms 14
AP Labs: Guiding Principles & Requirements • AP Biology labs (online) anchored in America’s Lab Report. • Students should be actively involved in the process of scientific inquiry to develop an understanding of the way in which scientific knowledge is acquired. • No new major equipment will be required. • Minimum of eight hands-on lab investigations • Minimum of 25% of instructional time on labs • AP Biology Investigative Lab Manual: An Inquiry Approach • Thirteen student directed and inquiry based labs • Student and Teacher Manuals • Currently online
AP Biology Course Audit Requirements • College-level Text • Course structured around Enduring • Understandings & Big Ideas (w/connections) • Course addresses social issue(s) • Student-directed investigations • 25% time rule for investigations • Student communication of results • Address Learning Objectives in Big Ideas • (emphasis on skills outside of investigations) • http://www.collegeboard.com/html/apcourseaudit/courses/biology.html
Organization of the New AP Biology Exam Section 1: • 63 Multiple Choice + 6 Grid-In questions • 90 minutes • 50% of exam weight Section 2: • 8 Free Response questions • 2 long free response question (one is lab based) • 6 short free response questions • 10 minutes required reading time + 80 minutes response time • 50% of exam weight *Practice Exam available for AP Teachers. **Sample exam items are located in the new Course & Exam Description (online)
Sample Multiple-Choice Question Q1: Two flasks with identical medium containing nutrients and glucose are inoculated with yeast cells that are capable of both anaerobic and aerobic respiration. Culture 1 is then sealed to prevent fresh air from reaching the culture; culture 2 is loosely capped to permit air to reach the culture. Both flasks are periodically shaken. Which of the following best predicts which culture will contain more yeast cells after one week, and most accurately justifies that prediction? A. Culture 1, because fresh air is toxic to yeast cells and will inhibit their growth B. Culture 1, because fermentation is a more efficient metabolic process than cellular respiration C. Culture 2, because fresh air provides essential nitrogen nutrients to the culture D. Culture 2, because oxidative cellular respiration is a more efficient metabolic process than fermentation.
Sample Grid-In Question Q1: The data below demonstrate the frequency of tasters and non-tasters in an isolated population at Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The allele for non-tasters is recessive. How many of the tasters in the population are heterozygous for tasting?
Sample Single-Part Question Q1: The role of tRNA in the process of translation was investigated by the addition of tRNA with attached radioactive leucine to an in vitro translation system that included mRNA and ribosomes. The results are shown by the graph. In a short paragraph, describe how this figure justifies the claim that the role of tRNA is to carry amino acids that are then transferred from the tRNA to growing polypeptide chains.
Teacher Support • Are you a member of the AP Teacher Community? • Read and participate in discussion threads • Share ideas, files, links • Save resources to your library A new Curriculum Module:Exploring Plasmodium Evolution Authors: -Sam Donovan -David Knuffke
Teacher Support - Continued • Quantitative Skills Guide • AP Biology Investigative Labs: An Inquiry-Based Approach • Performance Based Assessment • Course and Exam Description • Project Based Assessment • Course Planning and Pacing Guides (4) • Sample Syllabi (4) • Practice Exam & Additional Questions (2013) • One Day Workshops • AP Summer Institutes (4-5 days) • Online Professional Development • New Labs • Quantitative Skills • Course Changes
AP Annual Conference 2013 Stay connected to the conversation http://apac.collegeboard.org/program
2014 Reading Dates and Location AP Biology June 11 – 17, 2014 Kansas City, MO
Thank you! • Contact information Tanya Sharpe, PhDSenior Director, Science Curriculum & Content Development LSharpe@collegeboard.org