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College Board + Learning List = Partnership

In case you missed it, College Board released this blog.

Learning List: Helping Identify the Best AP Instructional Materials for Your Course

By Liam Julian, Director, AP Instruction Communications

04/07/16

Textbooks and supplementary materials for the classroom are expensive. How can AP Coordinators and teachers choose the best resources for their AP courses?

The College Board has partnered with Learning List, an independent instructional materials review service for schools and districts, to ensure that the materials included on the example textbook lists for the following AP subjects are aligned to the curriculum frameworks:

Art History

Biology

Calculus AB and Calculus BC

Chemistry

Computer Science Principles

European History

Human Geography

Physics 1 and Physics 2

Research

Seminar

U.S. History

World History

On each example textbook list, materials that have been reviewed by Learning List are so noted; example textbooks not reviewed by Learning List are also noted. Other AP subjects’ example textbook lists will be similarly updated in the future.

To ensure the quality of its reviews, Learning List hired as its reviewers many of the AP teachers who helped the College Board develop the new curriculum frameworks. As this brief video explains, three reviews are provided for each instructional material: (1) an overview of the material’s key academic and technology attributes; (2) an in-depth analysis of the material’s instructional content and design; and (3) a review of the material’s alignment to the Learning Objectives, Essential Knowledge statements, and Practices/Skills for the course. Beyond helping educators select new AP instructional materials, the reviews and tools on LearningList.com offer AP teachers ongoing support in using their materials effectively.

About College Board*

college board

[Source: College Board]

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity.

Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education.

Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT and the Advanced Placement Program. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools

*The content in this section is provided by or adapted from College Board.

Subscribe to Learning List for access to the spec sheet, full editorial review and detailed alignment report for this material.

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New Product Review: UTeach Computer Science Principles

UTeach CS PrinciplesLearning List has reviewed UTeach Computer Science (CS) Principles. This comprehensive product supports instruction in Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles courses. Content is available in a web-based format and may be downloaded as a PDF. Instruction is project-based and emphasizes collaborative learning activities that develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Student materials are available at no cost. [Read more…]

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Rural Districts and Advanced Placement Courses

An August 2017 report from the Education Commission of the States and the College Board explores rural students’ access to and participation in Advanced Placement (AP) courses, as well as their performance on AP exams, relative to students who reside in urban and suburban areas. Below we summarize some key findings from the report, which relies on data collected across 15 school years (i.e., 2000-01 to 2014-15):

  • Access to AP courses has increased significantly for rural students. In 2001, only 56% of rural high school seniors had access to at least one AP course; by 2015, this percentage had increased to 73% of high school seniors.
  • While access to AP courses improved for rural students (73%), it still lagged that of urban (92%) and suburban (95%) students in 2015.
  • Of the rural high school seniors who had access to at least one AP course in 2015, only 31% took an AP exam. This compares with 40% of urban and 39% of suburban high school seniors.
  • On average, rural students earned an AP exam score of 2.6, compared with 2.73 for urban students and 2.98 for suburban students in 2015. Note that AP exams use a standardized score that ranges from 1 to 5, with a score of 5 indicating the highest level of performance. Scores of 3 or higher are often awarded college credit by post-secondary institutions. [Read more…]
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What We’ve Observed: Trends in AP Materials

The College Board is engaged in several related initiatives to help teachers prepare a broader, more diverse group of students to succeed in AP courses.   AP courses in several disciplines are being redesigned and new courses are being introduced to create AP courses that strike a balance between depth of understanding and breadth of content coverage.

A critical next step in supporting AP teachers is ensuring that the instructional materials for AP courses address the knowledge and skills articulated in the new course frameworks.  To that end, the College Board partnered with Learning List™ to provide educators with independent, professional reviews of AP materials[1]. [Read more…]

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Computer Thinking: Part One

A recent article in the New York Times describes the increased enrollment in computer science courses at the university level, and highlights how primary education has addressed the importance of abstract thinking and computer programming skills for students in grades K-12.

The article explains how the College Board reshaped its Advanced Placement (AP) computer science course to more closely reflect trends at the college level. In addition to the popular AP Computer Science A course, which teaches the Java programming language, the College Board has introduced the broader AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) that allows teachers to use any programming language and focuses on transferrable skills, such as data analysis and problem solving.

As part of our partnership with the College Board, Learning List has reviewed each of the products on the College Board’s 2017 “Example Textbook List” and several of the “Endorsed Courses” for CSP.  We reviewed each product’s alignment to the College Board’s course framework for AP CSP and conducted a review of each product’s instructional content. A brief overview of each material or course is provided below. 

Cengage's Invitation to Computer ScienceCengage Learning’s Invitation to Computer Science is a survey of the fundamental concepts of computer science, including social and ethical issues. Instruction progresses sequentially through six “Levels.” Concepts build upon one another and increase in complexity.  An accompanying Laboratory Manual provides 20 lab activities that complement instruction and clarify concepts presented across Levels 1-5.

 Cengage's New Perspectives on Computer ConceptsCengage Learning’s New Perspectives on Computer Concepts 2016, Comprehensive, begins with an introduction, “The Digital Revolution,” that provides the history of digital technology and its role in social, political, and economic change. Subsequent instruction is presented in 11 units that address digital content, digital devices, networks, the Web, social media, software, digital security, the ICT industry, information systems, databases, and programming.

 CodeHS's AP Computer Science PrinciplesCodeHS’s AP Computer Science Principles covers the fundamentals of computer science and supports instruction in blended learning environments. Students have access to an interactive “JavaScript Library” that explains coding language, including parameters, and provides examples. “Challenge” problems extend students’ learning and the CodeHS “Sandbox” enables students to explore concepts that interest them.

UMBC's CS Matters (AP)CS Matters in Maryland is an open educational resource (OER); resources are available at no cost at www.csmatters.org. Students learn about internet data; processes for managing, analyzing, and interpreting data; and the use of data to solve real world problems. The course uses the Python programming language; Python 3.4 and PyCharm Community Edition IDE software may be installed at no cost.

harvard_cs_blog_imageHarvard University’s CS50 AP introduces students to the basics of computer science and computer programming languages. Students use their learning to solve real-world problems that are relevant to them. CS50 AP content is video-based and facilitates student self-study and instruction in flipped learning environments. Most CS50 AP resources are available at no cost at https://ap.cs50.net.

Mobile CSPMobile CSP is a project-based online course that teaches the principles of computer science using MIT’s “App Inventor” visual block language for Android devices. Students create “socially useful” apps that address problems they have identified in their schools or communities.

zulama blogZulama’s AP Computer Science Principles is an online course that develops students’ understanding of computer science and coding skills through the lens of game design. Instruction requires the installation of GameMaker Studio 2 software, which requires a Windows operating system. Instruction asks students to create new games and build a digital portfolio of their creative work.

This table shows the range in the degree to which each course or material aligns to the CSP course framework Learning List’s alignment reports show which standards each material is/is not aligned to and specific citations in each material that have been verified to be aligned to each standard.

Alignment LO

In addition to reviewing computer science courses aligned to the College Board’s CSP course framework, Learning List has also reviewed of each of the state-adopted materials that support career and technical education (CTE) Information Technology courses, including computer programming and digital media products. Visit our blog next week for Computer Thinking: Part Two, in which we discuss CTE computer science products.

Subscribe to Learning List for access to the spec sheet, full editorial review and alignment reports for these materials and thousands of other widely used PreK-12 resources.

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