If one were to get a group of Advanced Placement English Language (AP Lang) students together and ask what they are learning, one would receive a variety of answers. Somewould say they read passages in class and take practice exams. Some would say they learn about social issues. Still others would say that they read the passages in the textbook.
While all AP Lang students are learning the same material, it is clear they are all learning it very differently than in most classes, which is frustrating for many students who expected similar curriculum like courses in previous grades.
The curriculum for the AP Lang classes (such as the final exam, the learning standards, the grade weighting and the textbook used) is the same across the board. However, each instructor teaches the class in a different way. This happens in other courses depending on teaching styles, but there is significantly more fluctuation in teaching styles in AP Lang than in other classes.
In one AP Lang class, for example, the teacher assigns reading passages with corresponding analysis questions, practice AP tests and mock essays. This teaching style is focused on learning rhetorical devices, practicing identification and how to analyze them in passages.
Senior Emily Wang is in such an AP Lang class and said she has enjoyed reading many shorter passages, as opposed to a few longer books, because it exposes her to many different types of writing.
On the other hand, some AP Lang teachers cover units on various social issues, such as money and the American dream. The social issues are related to the passage material on the AP exam.
According to senior Asia Gardias, her AP Lang class is similar to a foreign language AP. While a foreign language class covers topics such as technology, beauty and culture, the students are expected to understand the basics of the language more than knowing everything about every topic.
Similarly, in this style of AP Lang, students are expected to generally understand issues such as money, community and pop culture, but the emphasis is on knowing how to incorporate evidence and rhetorical devices into writing a persuasive essay. However, many AP Lang students are frustrated about the differences in learning material teachers use in these classes.
However, many AP Lang students are frustrated about the differences in learning material teachers use in these classes.
By definition, AP classes are taught in order to prepare students for the AP exam. But the disparity between AP Lang classes fosters contrasting ways to prepare for the test, which may disadvantage particular students with different learning styles and prior knowledge.
But the disparity between AP Lang classes fosters contrasting ways to prepare for the test, which may disadvantage particular students with different learning styles and prior knowledge.
The varying learning material also makes it difficult for students in different classes to collaborate on assignments. Additionally, it limits the number of students and peer tutors someone can go to for extra help. In other AP classes, students can get help from any student in any other section of their class. But if an AP Lang student needs help in the subject, they can only go to a student that has the same teacher.
In standard English classes, such as English 10A, course material may be slightly different or certain teachers may be more strict. But most standardized English courses are at least doing more similar types of projects and assignments than different classes in AP Lang.
It is important to acknowledge that this is the first year of AP Lang, and thus teachers are still figuring out what works for themselves and their students.
In future years, as the course progresses, the team of AP Lang teachers will find a solution, and the teachers may create more synthesized classes. Students are also aware that this is a new course, and there is still experimentation to be done.
The AP Lang teachers contacted for this story said they wouldn’t be interviewed for the story until all of them could come to a consensus about their responses to the interview questions. They said they wouldn’t be prepared to answer the questions until sometime during second semester.
By creating a standardized AP Lang curricula, more students would be able to prepare for the AP exam from a diverse range of teaching styles, resulting in more breadth and depth of knowledge along with a wider range of voices for collaboration and support.