pline, identification of major conceptual issues that should serve as curricular foci, means of balancing breadth and depth, interdisciplinary connections, quality of assessments, teaching methodology, comparison with national standards, and preparation of high school students for further study at the college level. The panels were not asked to consider programs other than AP and IB because of time limitations.

Each panel met for two 2-day sessions during the spring and summer of 2000. Prior to each meeting, panel members received general information about the AP and IB programs, as well as materials more specific to their disciplines. These materials included curriculum guidelines; questions from final examinations that had been released by the College Board and the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO); and, for the science panels, laboratory manuals used in AP and IB science courses. Panel members also examined other information about research on learning, curriculum, assessment, and teacher education and professional development. Copies of salient national reports, such as National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996) and Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000), were provided as well. Panel members also applied their personal knowledge and experience with the two programs in formulating findings and recommendations.

Review and Interpretation of Panel Findings and Recommendations

The chair of each panel assumed responsibility for drafting a report and consulting with panel members to incorporate their suggestions and secure their agreement on the report contents. Each panel report underwent an independent, monitored review by reviewers external to the NRC. The chair of each panel then assumed primary responsibility for preparing the panel’s response to review, along with appropriate changes.

The panels’ findings and recommendations represent the consensus of the panel members. Reviewers agreed that the findings are well substantiated. The committee acknowledges, however, that different groups of experts might have arrived at somewhat different recommendations regarding desirable changes. In other words, there may be several solutions to some of the problems that were noted.

Since the recommendations of the panels are discipline-specific, the committee did not have the expertise to consider each recommendation in detail. However, the panels’ findings were an important part of the evidence used by the committee in analyzing advanced study programs and in reaching agreement on the recommendations presented in Chapter 11 of this report.

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