By MOHIT KOSURU
Many Advanced Placement (AP) teachers are struggling to teach the entire course curriculum for the AP exams in May under a hybrid school model.
Last spring, due to the lockdowns and inability to hold testing sites, the AP exams covered fewer topics and were taken online in a short-answer format. But for 2021, College Board has not announced any changes or cuts to the topics covered on the AP tests.
According to the College Board website, “the 2021 AP exams will cover the full course content.”
To help students understand concepts, College Board has released ‘AP Daily Videos’ on AP Classroom, which cover every topic in each AP course and can be paired with practice quizzes.
AP Chemistry teacher Mr. Nicholas Brighton explains the stress of trying to teach all of the content before May whilst in a hybrid learning setting.
“I have had to move faster than I would like, which puts more pressure on the students,” Brighton said. “It has been a hard year for all of us and having College Board say that the breadth of the test is exactly the same this year as the others when it is anything but a normal year is quite difficult to manage.”
AP Calculus BC teacher Ms. Barbara Hudgins explains that meeting just once a week in-person is not enough to teach all of the curriculum taught in previous years. Last year, students received approximately 250 minutes of instruction per class per week. This year, the hybrid schedule has limited instruction to just 85 to 170 minutes per class per week.
“The challenge comes mostly from the fact that we are only meeting once a week in person (twice a week with the Zoom class) so it is difficult to teach all the topics in depth,” AP Calculus BC teacher Hudgins said. “I have cut out a few topics that are not directly tested on, [which would] normally be taught in a college level course.”
If health and safety conditions permit, schools can offer an in-person exam, but there will also be other options for students without access to an open test center. More information will be available in early 2021. This year, Collegeboard has waived the exam cancellation fee for students who later decide not to test.
Some students are frustrated with having to learn the entire AP curriculum for their classes, while not being able to receive the same amount of instruction as previous years.
“It feels like they’re treating AP [classes] like it’s a normal year, but we have half the time in class,” junior Dylan Nguyen said.
Senior Advait Arumugam agrees with Nguyen and proposes that the Collegeboard should shorten their tests like last year and give colleges the option to accept the AP courses as credit or not.
“[This would] force the Collegeboard to do more for the students who pay a ridiculous amount of money already,” Arumugam said.
However, even with the AP testing uncertainty and time constraints, AP teachers hope that students will be able to understand their respective subjects with depth.
“I am hoping, after we get all the basic skills taught, that we will have time to go back and really get into it all, making all the connections and deepening the understanding of concepts,” Hudgins said.