As noted above, because of the importance of scores on the comprehensive AP examination, AP instructors are under pressure to cover all of biology within a year, necessitating a fairly superficial treatment. Little time is available to explore any topics in depth. Although the ETS maintains that students do not need to know all topics well to be successful on the exam, many instructors, especially those who are less experienced, feel they must cover all the material.
Although the AP Biology course outline specifies that all 12 laboratories should be carried out, there is no check on whether the laboratories are completed. Questions dealing with laboratory material comprise only a small proportion of the exam. Moreover, many questions assess content knowledge related to the laboratory rather than protocol and process skills, so that the information can be obtained from reading or lecture without conducting the laboratory. (A few questions are better; for example, there should be more questions like those dealing with the photosynthesis laboratory.) Videos of the laboratories being carried out by others are available to familiarize students with protocols. Therefore, it is impossible to tell from AP test results whether students have actually performed laboratory exercises. The panel heard various anecdotal evidence that teachers wishing to maximize preparation time for the exam minimize the laboratories and may skip some altogether. Therefore, meaningful laboratory experiences are not guaranteed by the AP program, but rather depend on the skill and initiative of individual teachers.
Epub Book Campbell Ap Biology 8th Edition Guide …
Thus although some degree of breadth is necessary and desirable as argued above, it should be defined by the degree of integration among different topics, not the number of topics covered. If students understand the process of science and the hierarchy of interrelationships among topics they have studied in depth, learning new biological knowledge is easy because it fits into a conceptual framework that is already in place. Consequently, the selection of particular topics covered in a course is less important than activities designed to build understanding of science processes and a conceptual hierarchy, and courses need not strive for comprehensiveness of subject matter. Eliminating the use of AP and IB exam scores for automatic placement out of specific college courses, as recommended in , would allow advanced secondary-level courses, particularly AP, to evolve in this direction.