successful AP programs. Recommendations contained in Access to Excellence support the panel’s views in this regard (CFAPP, 2001, pp. 9-11):

  • Provide unconditional support for preparing teachers, schools, and school systems to offer high quality AP programs—teachers’ needs are paramount (Recommendation 2).

  • Expand and enhance direct support for teachers (Recommendation 2a).

  • Develop creative partnerships and tools to enhance teacher professional development (Recommendation 2b).

  • Promote the development of online support for teachers (Recommendation 2c).

  • Develop comprehensive services to help administrators, principals, and counselors design and implement successful AP programs (Recommendation 2d).

The IB program also holds professional development workshops for teachers. All new IB teachers are required to attend one of these workshops, preferably before they begin teaching. Most IB experimental science teachers agree that these workshops are critical for new teachers because of the complexity of the Group 4 subject syllabi and the requirements for the PSOW and the IA. IB teacher workshops for the experimental sciences frequently focus on designing laboratory experiences that will enable students to meet the specific IA criteria. Additionally, these workshops help new teachers develop strategies for managing the recordkeeping activities that are demanded by the IBO. International Baccalaureate of North America (IBNA) is responsible for conducting these workshops, but they most often are designed and led by experienced IB teachers. It is important to note that these workshops often are held in remote locales, making travel to attend them expensive and difficult, and thereby reducing the number of attendees.



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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Chemistry successful AP programs. Recommendations contained in Access to Excellence support the panel’s views in this regard (CFAPP, 2001, pp. 9-11): Provide unconditional support for preparing teachers, schools, and school systems to offer high quality AP programs—teachers’ needs are paramount (Recommendation 2). Expand and enhance direct support for teachers (Recommendation 2a). Develop creative partnerships and tools to enhance teacher professional development (Recommendation 2b). Promote the development of online support for teachers (Recommendation 2c). Develop comprehensive services to help administrators, principals, and counselors design and implement successful AP programs (Recommendation 2d). The IB program also holds professional development workshops for teachers. All new IB teachers are required to attend one of these workshops, preferably before they begin teaching. Most IB experimental science teachers agree that these workshops are critical for new teachers because of the complexity of the Group 4 subject syllabi and the requirements for the PSOW and the IA. IB teacher workshops for the experimental sciences frequently focus on designing laboratory experiences that will enable students to meet the specific IA criteria. Additionally, these workshops help new teachers develop strategies for managing the recordkeeping activities that are demanded by the IBO. International Baccalaureate of North America (IBNA) is responsible for conducting these workshops, but they most often are designed and led by experienced IB teachers. It is important to note that these workshops often are held in remote locales, making travel to attend them expensive and difficult, and thereby reducing the number of attendees.

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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Chemistry 5 Outcomes of AP and IB Chemistry Courses USE OF AP AND IB CHEMISTRY EXAMINATION SCORES BY COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES Colleges and universities vary significantly in the ways in which they handle credit and placement decisions based on AP and IB Chemistry examination scores (CEEB, 1994). The options include the following: No advanced placement or college credit granted Advanced placement granted, but no credit given College credit given, but no advanced placement College credit and advanced placement given Some states legislate the awarding of particular levels of college or university credit to students with specified minimum AP scores. Statewide higher education systems in some states have well-articulated, shared policies among their institutions regarding credit and advanced placement for students meeting system-wide AP score standards; systems in other states leave the matter to the discretion of the institution or individual departments. Examples of the credit and advanced placement practices listed above are cited in the College and University Guide to the Advanced Placement Program booklet from the College Board (1994). DEGREE TO WHICH AP AND IB CHEMISTRY PROGRAMS REFLECT EMERGING KNOWLEDGE OR APPROACHES IN CHEMISTRY The consensus opinion of the chemistry panel is that neither the IB nor AP examinations reflect several significant recent developments in the focus of chemical research and in the teaching of chemistry at the college/university level. Practice in the field of chemical research has shifted to incorporate work at the intersection of chemistry with disciplines that in the past have been viewed as different from mainstream chemistry—biology, engineering, materials science, and environmental science. Major research programs now exist in materials science, bioinorganic and biopolymer chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, and nanotechnologies. To prepare students to understand such interdisciplinary research, increasing numbers of college and university general chemistry textbooks and laboratory curricula are incorporating organic and biochemical moieties to teach general chemical principles, thus breaking down the artificial barriers among subdisciplines and using these developments as opportunities to teach related

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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Chemistry chemical principles in a more contextual manner (see, e.g., ChemConnections modules;24 Chemistry: Structure and Dynamics [Bodner, Rickard, and Spencer, 1999]; The Chemical World: Concepts And Applications, 2nd edition, [Moore, Stanitski, Wood, Kotz, and Joest, 1998]; Landis and Peace, [1998]); and the Discovery Chemistry curriculum from the College of the Holy Cross25). These textbooks and laboratory experiments also cover exciting new developments in materials science, such as those developed at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.26 Because they offer a different focus and context for introductory chemistry courses, the authors of these texts have made the difficult decisions about what subject matter to deemphasize so that faculty will have sufficient time to teach the concepts these texts emphasize. The AP topic outline and the associated examination do not yet reflect such changes. Although the College Board introduced aspects of organic chemistry into the AP Chemistry course in 1997, no questions about organic chemistry or biochemistry have yet appeared on the national examination. In contrast, the IB program does include some organic chemistry, biochemistry, and environmental chemistry, in part because it reflects a broader, international curricular base whereby students learn chemistry through a more holistic, spiral approach. Questions that are related to chemical principles of materials science are not part of either the IB or AP examinations. The chemistry panel believes that to be effective, advanced courses in chemistry must reflect recommendations in the areas of content, pedagogy, and assessment incorporated in the NSES. Current practices in the way AP and IB Chemistry programs assess student learning on the written final examinations do not appear to be responsive to the changes in emphasis suggested by the NSES for assessment, teaching, professional development, or content. The AP and IB examinations continue to assess primarily the acquisition and retention of information as distinct from understanding, applications, and extensions of concepts. The exams offer little reinforcement of inquiry-based learning in these examinations. As noted above, the IB program does meet many of the NSES criteria through its IA protocol (e.g., portfolio assessment, use of rubrics, data analysis questions). The chemistry panel urges AP and IB staff and teachers to compare their current practices in instruction and testing against the changing emphases articulated in the NSES and the related recommendations of the American Chemical Society in Chemistry in the National Science Education Standards (1997) (e.g., emphasis on unifying concepts; use of inquiry-based teaching; cooperative and collaborative learning strategies; and incorporation of organic, environmental, and biochemistry topics). The AP program is silent with respect to recommending or supporting any particular teaching methodology. Its approach is outcome driven, with success being measured by examination scores, which in turn are content- rather than concept driven. The chemistry panel is disappointed that AP, as the predominant national-level advanced study program in the United States, has apparently not considered as part of its responsibilities the promotion of approaches and innovations in teaching and learning that are more aligned with recommendations in the NSES. At the same time, however, the College Board is not likely to be successful in making such changes if it does so unilaterally. The College Board will require overt and explicit support and encouragement for such reforms from professional societies, from college and university 24   http://mc2.cchem.berkeley.edu/ [4/23/02]. 25   http://www.holycross.edu/departments/chemistry/discovery/index.html [4/23/02]. 26   See http://mrsec.wisc.edu.

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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Chemistry faculty who teach introductory chemistry courses, and from college admission offices that are prepared to accept students who take these kinds of revised courses. SUCCESS IN CHEMISTRY BEYOND THE INTRODUCTORY LEVEL Given the variability of AP and IB courses as implemented in different high schools, as well as the variability among college chemistry courses at different institutions, the success of individual AP students in higher-level college courses is also likely to vary considerably. During the past 25 years, several studies (all conducted under the auspices of the College Board)27 have attempted to examine whether students who take AP courses in high school are successful in college and whether they are as well prepared as their non-AP counterparts for second- and third-level college courses in the discipline. While the data appear to indicate that AP students on average are well prepared, the methodology used in these studies makes it difficult to ascertain whether student success can be attributed to the AP program or to other factors, such as the colleges they attend, the classes they take, or their own academic backgrounds and abilities. The panel therefore takes a cautious approach to accepting the findings of these studies. 27   These studies are published as in-house documents only. They have not been peer reviewed and do not appear in any scholarly publications, such as professional journals. This issue also is addressed in Chapter 10 of the report of the parent committee.

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Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools - Report of the Content Panel for Chemistry 6 Summary and Recommendations The AP and IB courses now being offered are taught effectively according to the expectations of the College Board and the IBO in some, but by no means all, schools. The content of the courses is bound inextricably to the nature and corpus of questions on the affiliated AP and IB examinations, which the chemistry panel finds to be flawed, as described in previous chapters. It should be noted that there is a growing tendency for IB Chemistry classes in the United States to be offered as 1-year courses, in order to conform with U.S. high school timetables. This practice contrasts with that of other countries, where virtually all IB Chemistry classes are taught over 2 years. Thus, in many IB Chemistry courses offered in the United States, too much information may be crammed into the course for the time available. The following sections summarize the panel’s findings and recommendations regarding the AP and IB Chemistry courses and examinations and the qualifications and professional development of those who teach the courses. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE AP AND IB COURSES AND EXAMINATIONS The chemistry panelists agree that advanced study options in high school chemistry should not necessarily be tied to the potential for earning college/university credit. The chemistry panel views these as two separate issues: The panel members are unanimous in agreeing that advanced study of chemistry at the high school level should provide students with a coherent, rigorous course that promotes further scientific literacy and prepares students to become part of a highly technological workforce, regardless of whether they continue studying chemistry at the tertiary level. An advanced chemistry course that meets criterion (a) should be organized and delivered such that it would be equivalent to the two-course college/university general chemistry sequence, and such that college credit could be sought based on passing the placement examination that is administered by college or university departments of chemistry. That is to say, advanced study in chemistry need not be based on AP or IB. Indeed, many of the nation’s top high schools for mathematics and science offer advanced courses that are neither AP- nor IB-based. Other legitimate alternatives should be explored.