APESvsEverybody Blog Posts

My Thoughts on the 2024 AP Environmental Science Exam Score Distribution

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes

My Thoughts on the 2024 AP Environmental Science Exam Score Distribution

I have to say, I was a bit surprised to see the AP exam score distribution for 2024. It’s essentially a carbon copy of the 2023 score distribution, with a slight shifting of 4s both up to 5s and down to 3s. The breakdown of 2s and 1s remains virtually unchanged.  However, this is in the context of the course continuing to grow, with an unofficial number of 238,000 exams announced at the reading in Cincinnati, up from the official number of 209,757 exams in 2023. Since on average, the expansion of AP course access skews towards historically underrepresented schools...

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2024 AP Environmental Science FRQ Scoring Reflections

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes

2024 AP Environmental Science FRQ Scoring Reflections

After my 5th year of grading FRQs for the College Board, here are a few of my key takeaways: Less is more: This year, the student responses I read were, on average, longer than in any of my previous years scoring exams. However, I really didn’t see a correlation between length of response and points earned. It was clear that many students rambled on, hoping to stumble into a correct answer at some point in their writing. This is a poor strategy for a number of reasons. The first is that, when presented with a list of potential answers, readers...

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Topic Triage in Unit 5

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes

Topic Triage in Unit 5

I need to start this post with the disclaimer that I am not advocating skipping entire topics in the CED or passing judgment on how anyone else has decided to prioritize the pacing of their units.  I'm just trying to share the topics that I feel can be condensed and covered minimally in class in order to allow more class time for topics that are more complex or carry greater exam relevance based on both the weighting laid out in the CED as well as released MCQs and FRQs. Unit 5: Unit 5 is an absolute beast with 17 topics....

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Credibility Signaling and The Stuff We Think With

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes

Credibility Signaling and The Stuff We Think With

Part 1: The Best Pedagogical Book I’ve Read in Years For a number of reasons, both personal and related to my school, last year was a particularly challenging year for me in the classroom. It was a struggle to build the class culture that’s been so central to what I love about teaching APES. Now I’m normally not a fan of getting too caught up in the myriad factors beyond the walls of our classrooms that make our jobs more difficult, but it did really feel like I was battling a distinctly new wave of student apathy and disengagement. I...

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Retrieval Practice: Unlock the Power of Self-Quizzing

Jordan Dischinger-Smedes

Retrieval Practice: Unlock the Power of Self-Quizzing

If you’re not familiar with retrieval practice or active recall by name, you’ve certainly implemented this powerful learning strategy in its most basic instantiation: flashcards. A few years into my career as an educator, I came across this Cult of Pedagogy article, which then prompted me to read the book Make it Stick. I can count on one hand the books or articles that have had a bigger impact on how I approach teaching than these two. While Jennifer Gonzalez at Cult of Pedagogy and the authors of Make it Stick certainly do the subject justice much better than I...

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