In my last post (Jan 18), I described the AP Biology course, a freshman college biology course for high school students. I said that doing well in AP Biology could allow a person arrive at college with some credits already finished. But I also mentioned some major disadvantages of the course.
A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times reported that The College Board, which owns and administers AP Biology, is revising the AP Biology course to eliminate faults and add advantages. AP Biology will become a much better educational experience. And it will will help to correct America’s crummy showing in international school math and science competitions.
One of America’s key failings in such competitions is that, except for the cream of the crop, American students can’t solve higher level problems, what we used to refer to as “word problems.” With its emphasis on rote memorization of facts and pre-designed labs with pre-assigned hypotheses, AP Biology contributed to this weakness among American students.
The College Board will test the revised AP Biology course in a few schools next academic year and launch it the following year. This revised AP Biology will dump the tons of reading and cramming and testing. But it will require higher order thinking and problem solving. How will this happen? Stay tuned!