College Board Announces Changes to AP Chemistry Course

The College Board says revised chemistry class will focus on hands-on learning.

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The College Board announced today that it has revised its Advanced Placement Chemistry and Spanish courses. The new courses will go into effect starting fall 2013.

Trevor Packer, senior vice president for the AP program at the organization said in a statement that the courses were redesigned to “represent the best practices in their disciplines.”

For chemistry, that means less of an emphasis on in-class lectures and more time spent doing lab work, something College Board president Gaston Caperton said the nonprofit organization was hoping to do with many of its STEM courses.

“We are in the process of shifting the focus of AP science courses to emphasize not just what students know, but what they can do—the process and practice of science," he said at U.S. News’s Making Science Cool event last month.

[Learn about potential new AP STEM courses.]

The new AP chemistry was redesigned by a group of educators and scientists around the nation and was funded by the National Science Foundation to “promote a balance between developing solid content knowledge and applying that knowledge to the practice of chemistry,” according to the announcement.

“In moving away from the lecture-and-demonstration model toward a more hands-on, interactive approach to studying chemistry,” the announcement says. “The course also enables students to take risks, apply inquiry skills, and direct and monitor their own progress.”

More than 122,000 students at some 8,000 high schools enroll in AP Chemistry, making it the 11th most popular AP course.

A redesigned AP biology course curriculum will go into effect in fall 2012.

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