Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Psychology Related Updates from the College Board

As an AP Psychology teacher, I regularly receive updates from the College Board with pertinent information about AP testing, credit policies, commissioned reports, and the like. This past week I got a couple of messages with information that may be useful to current AP Psych students, so I'd like to pass it along.

The first significant update concerns an issue that students should be very excited about: accessing AP score reports online! Previously, in order to find out their scores, students had to wait for printed score reports to arrive via snail mail in July OR fork over $8 to use a clunky, automated phone system to hear their scores earlier. Scores still are likely to be unavailable until July 1 or later, since the Free-Response Questions are scored by readers throughout most of the month of June and student reports probably cannot be compiled any faster than they already are. However, students will be able to view their scores online for free starting this summer. Though more information is likely to be forthcoming, the College Board has launched this website to help students set up their accounts and get ready to use the online system.

The second item concerns the physical layout of the Free-Response sections of the AP exams. As last year's students discovered, the College Board changed the layout of this section of most exams, for reasons having to do with test security and ease of test administration. However, some students reported being confused by the new format, since all the Free-Response questions now appear in one booklet with multiple pages (and with each question being repeated "for convenience" multiple times). In order to reduce confusion, the College Board has made available Free-Response booklet maps so that students can preview the layout of that section of the test. In general, I'll be telling my students in AP Psych that, despite the look at first glance there really are still two FRQs, so when you are done answering the first, you may have to go a couple of pages to find the next one. Pay attention to numbers (they should be prominently labled "Question 1" and "Question 2") and you should be fine. However, this map should be helpful, especially for students more used to the old format of that section of AP tests.

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