AP Pilot Program will help students soar

Ms.+Tefertiller+shows+her+calculus+class+how+to+navigate+the+Pilot+program

Photo by Sidney Norman

Ms. Tefertiller shows her calculus class how to navigate the Pilot program

Shabeeba Kasem, North Staff Writer

Across Edmond Public Schools, over a thousand students enroll themselves in Advanced Placement courses. These classes are designed to mimic a college-level course with rigorous study materials and lengthy assignments that challenge students to think beyond the confines of proficiency. The benefits of these courses are abundant; AP classes prepare students for rigorous college curriculums, strengthen transcripts with weighted GPA and distinguish merited students from the pile-up of college admissions.  

Pallavi Yennapu, a former Edmond North student and current freshman at the University of Southern California explains the motivation behind her choice to take an AP- heavy course schedule in high school.

“AP classes have allowed me to place out of introductory courses for my major, and I have also fulfilled some of my general education requirements,” Yennapu said. “Additionally, the more credits you have, the earlier you can register for classes, thus assuring you a better registration slot.”

Yennapu’s views are commonly shared among the student body; however, certain issues brought the College Board to introduce a new AP Pilot program into select high schools. In 2017, more than sixty percent of the students who took the AP Calculus AB exam and World History exam scored a 3 or less. Considering the fact that most colleges only accept scores of 4 or 5 on these tests, a change in course curriculum was deemed necessary in order to help students to fully utilize their AP credits.  

Ari Papahronis, another graduated senior from Edmond North and current freshman at Columbia University, shares his thoughts about the school’s advanced placement program.

“I think that the majority of AP classes at Edmond North prepare students well for the tests, yet I have found that the the most effective AP classes are the ones that incorporate practice tests and problems into the curriculum,” Papahronis said.

Papahronis’s observations were a a foundational argument for the creation of a pilot program. The College Board decided to set up an advisory council of forty-two teachers from across the nation to categorize the deficits and benefits of AP. Through the participating teachers’ guidance, the College Board was able to refine the design of formative assessments to provide more valuable feedback on students’ progress and to tailor instruction and feedback reports that teachers can hand directly to their students.

The program will be instituted in fourteen school districts around the nation, and Edmond Public Schools was chosen to be one of the lucky few. The additions to the original class curriculums include  individualized homework assignments, test and quiz banks, video lessons and several avenues for feedback from instructors.

Ms. Tessa Tefertiller, who teaches AP calculus AB and BC, will work more in-depth with the program this year, as her subject was targeted by the College Board in response to the lower passing rates.

“Having a different frame of reference than just mine is helpful to students,’’ Tefertiller said. “The program has practice problems and plenty of activities.”

Although, Ms. Tefertiller’s students generally perform very well on the AP exam, she expects that her students will go on to achieve even higher scores in the coming years. Hopefully, with the students and teachers of Edmond North immersing themselves into the new pilot program, high schools across the nation will soon be able to introduce individualized course curriculums that give students all the tools they would need to excel in their academic pursuits and ace their AP exams!