Here’s What They Had to Say!

For more than 22 years, UCR University Extension’s successful AP Summer Institute (APSI) has been the go-to for new and experienced AP teachers looking for the latest strategies and approaches to help their students achieve their goals. For the past two years, APSI was presented online because of COVID-19, but this summer, the institute Is back in person! Once again, you’ll have the chance to do some face-to-face networking and engage in those AP discussions teachers love so much!

Recently, we reached out to some of our former institute participants to ask “Why AP?” and find out of all they learned, what was most helpful.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 20 Classroom Teachers
  • 12 with 15+ years of AP experience
  • 3 with 10-14 years of AP experience
  • 3 with 5-9 years of AP experience
  • 2 with less than 5 years of AP experience

Here’s what they had to say:

WHY AP? (What’s connecting the dots? How about challenge?)

  • The material and the rigor.
  • The challenge and the literature.
  • As a first-year teacher, I didn’t want to worry about classroom management; however, I was overwhelmed by the extra work of an AP course!
  • It is the most interesting, application-wise, and you get the most motivated students.
  • I was an AP student, and when I was hired at my former high school, the expectation was that I would eventually take over for my old AP teacher when he retired.
  • I wanted a challenge and to prove that I can get my students to pass the exam, and improve the passing rate for our school!
  • I wanted to give my students the opportunity to earn college credit.
  • I want to encourage more females and minorities into STEM field, and I hope that my passion for science will do that!
  • Provide my students the opportunity to showcase their mathematical strengths and/or challenge themselves with higher rigor.
  • Access to lesson plans, an identified goal, college credit for students.
  • To get students to challenge themselves by successfully completing a college-level class.
  • I love the AP English Language and Composition course and was encourage by my administration to enroll!
  • I love the subjects.
  • I like teaching students who want to push themselves to learn harder material.
  • I wanted the challenge!

WHAT WAS THE MOST VALUABLE TIP YOU TOOK AWAY? (Look what’s waiting for you this summer!)

  • Games that the instructor provided.
  • How to align my syllabus with the College Board course plan.
  • Everything!!
  • To save the labs for the end. We don’t have time during the year to do them before the test.
  • Doing essay calibration using the rubrics. It helps to see multiple examples and score them. It gave me confidence to do that in my classroom.
  • Liked time to share projects and strategies as a room full of AP teachers.
  • I love connecting and networking?
  • Make sure to do proofs informally rather than provide a formula so students have a better time understanding the “how” and “why” better.
  • Trying to be a scorer at an AP test conference. It will be the best professional development you can get.
  • The most valuable information I got was from the first one I attended, in the summer of 2015. The test had just been redesigned, and the instructor had a great deal of information on how the components were scored that helped inform my instruction in the next school year.
  • Advocating for rigor and high expectations in our AP classes.
  • Strategies that help students improve their speaking and writing sections of the exam. I learned that these sections are what students struggle the most.
  • To not be afraid of trying new things, and that there is more than one way for students to learn.
  • Making sure the Precalculus class starts and don’t take time to review in the beginning. Review as needed, and move on.
  • Learning how to explain essay writing so it’s understandable.
  • Don’t focus so much on the test.
  • Keep an eye on the calendar. You don’t want to get so absorbed in coding and creating the performance task that you run out of time for the BIG IDEAS!
  • To calibrate easy grading with other teachers to make sure I was grading accurately. Also, that you don’t have to give detailed feedback on every essay—use the rubric, and pick out one thing to comment on that will make the biggest impact. I loved going over AP exams and how they would be graded. Some of the topics I had to refresh my memory on, so it’s nice that the instructor would teach that toxic to is.
  • The help with connecting to the Facebook APUSHers group was MOST valuable!

Are you and your students up for the challenge? We think you are. Be part of the APSI experience this July!