BOX 6-1
Framework for the New AP Biology

The redesigned AP Biology course is organized around four big ideas:

•   The process of evolution drives the diversity and unity of life.

•   Biological systems utilize free energy and molecular building blocks to grow, to reproduce, and to maintain dynamic homeostasis.

•   Living systems store, retrieve, transmit, and respond to information essential to life processes.

•   Biological systems interact, and these systems and their interactions possess complex properties.

The course also emphasizes seven scientific practices (enduring understandings), all of which have a connection to evolutionary understanding.

•   The student can use representations and models to communicate scientific phenomena and solve scientific problems.

•   The student can use mathematics appropriately.

•   The student can engage in scientific questioning to extend thinking or to guide investigations within the context of the AP course.

•   The student can plan and implement data collection strategies appropriate to a particular scientific question.

•   The student can perform data analysis and evaluation of evidence.

•   The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.

•   The student is able to transfer knowledge across various scales, concepts, and representations in and across domains.

Here is an example of how questions on the AP Biology examination are likely to change.a The first question is typical of factual recall questions that are prevalent in current AP Biology tests. The second represents a higher-level question that requires students to demonstrate a greater level of understanding and synthesis of the concept being tested. Graphs next to each question represent the percentage of students who selected each answer:


a Source: Copyright © 2012 The College Board. Reproduced with permission.

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