Save-the-Date for Something New This Year: The Project-Based Learning Series Pilot

By: Jeff Nazzaro

Summer 2022 is coming, and UCR University Extension will once again host College Board’s Advanced Placement Summer Institute (APSI)—and it’s back to in-person learning! The Institute is designed to help high school teachers prepare to guide their top-level students toward their Advanced Placement exams and early college credit. For 2022, this will include the new AP Project Based Learning (PBL) Series, with Riverside being the only in-person location in California slated to deliver this pilot program.

“It’s been far too long, and we’ve missed being in-person with our students. UCR University Extension is more than ready to welcome our teachers back in person for APSI 2022,” said Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Annette Webb.

“UCR is the only in-person location in California delivering the new pilot Project-Based Learning program…”

Annette continued, “And, if you teach AP Environmental Science or AP U.S. Government and Politics, students can join the brand-new PBL offering, delivered in partnership between the College Board and UCR. In-person delivery is the optimum forum for engaging with consultants and for refreshing your expertise—it’s where the real magic of learning and collaboration happens.”

The PBL Series will show teachers in the two above-mentioned subjects—AP Environmental Science and AP U.S. Government and Politics—how to lead their students in working together to solve difficult, real-world problems that help them gain knowledge and experience they can apply to the AP examinations in their respective subject areas, in college, and beyond.

Appropriate for both experienced PBL teachers and those new to the approach, the AP PBL Series involves four days of in-person professional development workshops conducted by PBLWorks and includes curricula, lesson plans, and projects ready to use with students. During the school year, teachers will then receive four online sustained support sessions, flexibly timed, in conjunction with student projects.

“The AP PBL Series involves four days of in-person professional development…”

Early results using PBL appear to be promising. According to Lucas Education Research, a two-year, randomized, controlled study conducted by University of Southern California researchers, found that the chances of a student achieving a score of 3 or better on the AP Environmental Science or AP U.S. Government and Politics exam rose from 37 percent to 45 percent when preparing through a project-based learning curriculum.

APSI offers AP educators 30 or more hours of in-person training loaded with pedagogical tools of the trade and expert strategies time-tested in helping students achieve better scores on AP exams. By mastering the latest AP course content, teaching methods, lesson plans, and grading methodologies, educators will equip themselves to provide their high school students with a level of learning comparable to a first year of college.

Teachers will also learn how to best use AP Classroom and Instructional Planning Reports data to determine the strengths and weaknesses of their students. Additional AP resources educators will engage with include Unit Guides, Topic Questions, Personal Progress Checks, the AP Question Bank, Syllabus Development Guides, and Sample Syllabi.

The in-person format available through UCR University Extension is ideal for teachers to forge professionally enriching networking connections within the AP community. In all, instruction in teaching 13 AP courses will be offered: English Literature and Composition for Beginning Instructors; English Language and Composition for Advanced Instructors; English Language and Composition for Beginning Instructors; Spanish Language and Culture; Biology; World History; Physics 1; Computer Science Principles; Calculus AB; Human Geography; Environmental Science; U.S. History; and Macroeconomics.

“APSI offers educators 30 or more hours of in-person training…”

Two sessions of the PBL Series will be held: June 13–16 and July 11–14. APSI will be offered from July 11–14. Both programs include food, parking, and Wi-Fi access. Early bird discounts are available prior to July 1. A limited number of AP Summer Institute scholarships are offered by the College Board. Additionally, fee waivers are available for the PBL Series for those who teach in schools where at least half of students come from underrepresented minorities or qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

Annette concluded, “We are excited to be back together again in person, and to bring College Board consultants and our nation’s brightest Advanced Placement teachers together for four days jam-packed with learning and networking with colleagues. Mark your calendars and watch our website for scholarship information. We’ll see you this summer!”