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Summer 2012 Professional Development Opportunity for AP Biology Teachers

Summer 2012 Professional Development Opportunity for AP Biology Teachers
RE: Fall, 2012 Launch of the College Board’s Redesigned AP© Biology Course

In response to [a 2002 National Research Council] report and other influences, a comprehensive effort is under way to redesign AP science courses... For each discipline, the redesign has focused on developing a well-defined set of learning objectives that support teaching for deeper understanding, aligning the AP exams with these learning objectives, and providing AP instructors with the tools and professional development opportunities that support teaching, learning, and success on the AP exams...Developed in 1955, AP is the predominant national program for advanced courses in U.S. high schools. (National Research Council, 2011. Successful K-12 STEM Education. National Academies Press, Washington D.C., pg 17.)


In fall, 2012, the College Board will launch the first of the redesigned AP science courses, AP Biology. During the summer of 2012, dozens of colleges, universities, and professional development centers are offering 175 professional development institutes across the country with the capacity of training over 4,000 AP and pre-AP Biology teachers to implement the new curriculum framework and transition to inquiry-based labs. AP Biology Summer Institutes - for which continuing education credits are available - range from three to five days in length, offer 30-plus hours of professional development, and vary in cost from $400 to $1200, depending on the institution. Individuals interested in learning more regarding this outstanding professional development opportunity should select "Biology" within the "Course/Area" field on the AP Central Institutes & Workshops web page. The 2012 AP Summer Institutes are likely to be important opportunities for AP Biology teachers to learn about the redesigned course.


The Redesign of AP Biology

The College Board, with some support from the National Science Foundation and engagement of educators nationwide, redesigned AP Biology to produce a powerful course endorsed enthusiastically by higher education faculty. Fundamentally, the redesigned course reduces breadth, shifts the instructional emphasis from content to skills, and promotes the complex thinking and reasoning skills essential for in-depth study at the college level. AP and pre-AP Biology teachers will have the flexibility to explore complex concepts, conduct inquiry-based lab investigations, and tailor instruction to diverse learning styles and interests. Moving away from a lecture-and-demonstration model toward a collaborative approach, the course provides students many opportunities to take risks, apply inquiry skills, and direct and monitor their own progress.


Research-based professional development for redesigned AP Biology

To ensure teachers have access to the training they need to implement the redesigned AP Biology course, AP is offering a wide range of professional development that research suggests is necessary to shift teacher practice toward a focus on inquiry and reasoning skills (approximately 90 hours per teacher). Professional development includes:

 

The design of professional development to support the transition to the redesigned AP Biology course has involved prominent faculty from many of the nation’s top colleges and universities.