Dear AP Parents,
Many of you are concerned about your children;s grades and their difficulty with the curriculum of the class.
I understand your concerns and frustrations and hope to address some here.
1st- what do I do in class. Mainly i lecture to introduce the materials and make connections with concepts we
have covered before. I have them practice skills if possible (like Punnet squares), and sometimes but rarely
review whole topics ( I did this before the last test, as unusual as it was for me to use up limited class time for it.)
2nd- what should they do outside of class to help understand class subject matter.
This is probably where some of the confusion lies. I have given them a variety of things o help them, and they
may have thought I meant to do them all. They should study smarter,not harder. Most of them are studying like
crazy for my class, but like little kids in a pool, do a lot of splashing without much progress.
Recomendations, in order of importance-
A. Read the book! Before class. to be familiar with the ideas so I can make connections, not introduce it.
This is a college class, and that is what you do in college (see Legally Blonde for reference).
B. I f they missed some of my lecture or want to see another person SPEAK on the same idea (for auditory
learners and visual learners especially) Khan academy link on my website or youtube channels of teachers are
available on every topic.
C. Do activities I have links for or google interactive or online activity and the topic.
D. Form a small study group (3-4 MAX), can use skype, google plus for video chat if they can't physically get
together - isn't technology amazing.
D. Follow up on the links provided on my website to see other writings on the subjects
E. Try and teach it t o you or syblings. That requires mastery, and helps understand where they are weak.
F. Write, write , write. The test is half ESSAY, and if they do not practice detailed writing, they will not succeed.
They should not do ALL of this (or they wont have time to eat, sleep or breathe.
They need to figure out what works most efficiently to understand the subject, and practice that most.
3rd. The concern that you don't know the questions and cant help go over them has been brought to my
attention. I have a VERY limited number of appropriate level questions. I can not share all of them with you
because I have test security concerns. Not with the parents, but with students. The temptation and pressure to
share questions with next years students is huge, and I do not want to have that happen. I reuse my questions,
since i have such a small number,a nd have not had time to come up with equal difficulty questions. I will be
willing to provide a few of the ones most students got wrong and the rubric for it to parents who wish to have
You and I are not doing poorly. The curriculum is difficult, the College Board has not made it easy to access
the way they are coming up with the questions,, and the students are working hard. It is a very steep learning
curve, and this is the hardest introductory AP class. THe college baord also changed how many students get
what grade (#) on the test recently. Here is a chart of how the percentages of studnts with each score was:
2002-2007 2008-2012 2013
5 18 18 5
4 20 15 21
3 21 16 36
2 23 15 30
1 15 35 7.5
As you can see this is a MAJOR shift in scoring. It is VERY difficult to get a 5 (190,000 students took the teat
last year and only 9500 got 5s) but also less 1s. They did not explain WHY they changed it, they just did.
So i am reflecting the grading on TESTS (multiple choice) to reflect this new scoring system.
The essays have a rubric provided, and i pick the national average plus one standard deviation to be an A. In
the second semester it is 1.5-2 standard deviations, as they should be improving. They can score a maximum
Please let me know if there is anything else major I can do to help our students. I will address any concerns
here for all (personal issues are still to be done by email.