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Unlocking Academic Excellence: A Guide to Advanced Placement (AP) Courses

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Unlocking Academic Excellence: A Guide to Advanced Placement (AP) Courses
Discover how AP courses empower students to pursue college-level studies, earn college credits, and stand out in the competitive admissions landscape.

What is AP?

AP or Advanced Placement Program is a three-year sequence of high school coursework offered by the in over 34 subject areas. The idea behind offering AP courses is to provide college-bound high school seniors with a level of academic playing field. It doesn't matter whether you are a high school student in Dubuque, Iowa, or Darien, Connecticut; AP courses and the end-of-course examinations are the same wherever they are offered. The course content is the same. The teaching objectives are the same. The preparation for the final examinations is the same. Because the standard is the same everywhere and the College Board proctored and graded final examinations, college admissions professionals can compare student academic achievements with confidence. They know precisely what AP means when they see it on your transcript. They know exactly what your AP scores represent.

This brief video explains the impact of AP credit and placement.

That is the intrinsic value of AP Courses and their examinations from a college admissions point of view. Admissions professionals want to know that the math courses an applicant took at a public high school in Kansas are the same as those an applicant from a private school in Tennessee took. In other words, they want to compare apples to apples. When one applicant is offered a high school math course that is not an AP math course, the

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Standardized Tests

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Standardized Tests
Standardized tests have a long history in American K-12 education. We examine what standardized tests evaluate and more.

Standardized tests are a common way to assess student performance and academic achievement in K-12 schools. Schools use several types of standardized tests to evaluate different aspects of student learning.

Here are some key aspects that standardized tests evaluate:

Content Knowledge

Standardized tests assess students' , including key concepts, facts, and vocabulary. They aim to measure how well students have grasped the content taught at their grade level or across multiple years.

Application of Skills

These tests evaluate students' ability to apply their knowledge to solve problems and analyze information. They assess critical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving skills essential for academic success.

Reading Comprehension

Standardized tests often include passages or questions about reading comprehension. They measure students' ability to understand and interpret written texts, including identifying main ideas, making inferences, and evaluating arguments.

Writing Skills

Some standardized tests include writing components, where students must express their ideas coherently, use appropriate grammar and vocabulary, and organize their thoughts effectively. These sections evaluate students' written communication skills.

Quantitative Reasoning

Mathematics is a fundamental subject assessed in standardized tests. They gauge students' understanding of mathematical concepts, procedures, and problem-solving abilities. The , such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, statistics, and data analysis.

Scientific Inquiry

Tests in science subjects assess students' understanding of scientific concepts and ability to apply scientific inquiry methods. They evaluate skills like observation, experimentation, data analysis, and drawing conclusions based on evidence.

Test-Taking Skills

Standardized tests also

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Teaching: Using Virtual Reality

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Teaching: Using Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality can enhance your lessons safely and efficiently. Virtual reality allows your students to explore worlds they might not otherwise see. We offer some suggestions on how to use VR in your classrooom.

I've always been a fan of online courses. Kahn Academy and MOOC caught my attention years ago as excellent ways to enrich both my classroom lessons and my own children's learning experiences. As an old teacher, I can remember enhancing my lessons with slides and dial-up modem connections with some of the early Internet websites. I was teaching Latin to middle school students. The resources I discovered even way back in the 90s captured the imagination of my students and made the subject matter come alive. So, thirty years later, I am amazed at the breadth and depth of the resources available to parents and teachers.

The Purpose of Virtual Reality

These days, taking a class on a field trip poses all kinds of challenges. The cost, the approvals required from parents and guardians, the liability issues, and so on make school-sponsored excursions outside the school campus challenging to organize. Virtual Reality, combined with the high-resolution screens available on laptops and wide-screen TVs and monitors, is the next best thing to being there. As noted previously, it's safer and infinitely easier to manage.

How to use VR in your classroom

Finding out how to use virtual reality in your classroom involves discovering what resources are available and discussing how you may use them in your classroom.

For years, I鈥檝e taken joy in introducing virtual reality to educators at different schools. Armed with cheap Google Cardboard viewers, Lenovo Daydream headsets, and free access to Google Expeditions and Tour Creator,

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How Does Standardized Testing Affect Teaching Quality?

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How Does Standardized Testing Affect Teaching Quality?
The Common Core State Standards Initiative has changed the course of education in the United States, particularly with its emphasis on standardized testing. But how does standardized testing affect teaching quality? Keep reading to find out.

Introduced in the early 2000s, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is designed to ensure that students across the country receive a similar quality of education. The initiative set specific standards for what students should know at the end of each grade with the goal of making sure that every student has an equal opportunity to attend college after high school.

Since its introduction, the Common Core State Standards Initiative has encountered a great deal of controversy. In some ways, it may benefit students to have a more structured education, regardless of where they go to school. In other ways, however, the standards don鈥檛 always work for every school or every student. One of the biggest problems with the initiative, however, is its emphasis on standardized testing.

As one of the major tenants of the Common Core State Standards Initiative, standardized testing has a significant impact on the nation鈥檚 educational system. Keep reading to learn more about how standardized testing affects teachers and teaching quality.

This video provides an evidence-based overview of some issues associated with standardized testing.

What is the Deal with Standardized Testing?

According to the Common Core website, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is, 鈥渁 set of high-quality academic standards in mathematical and English language arts/literacy鈥 that was created to ensure that 鈥渁ll students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career,

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Tips For Easing Test Anxiety

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Tips For Easing Test Anxiety
Even the smartest of students can sometimes perform poorly on tests when they become anxious. Keep reading to learn how to ease test anxiety in public school students.

If your student attends public school, you are undoubtedly familiar with standardized testing. Standardized testing is designed to determine the effectiveness of a school鈥檚 curriculum and teaching staff as well as the degree to which students understand core concepts.

Many schools engage in standardized testing once a year or more in grades 3 through 8, focusing particularly on subjects like math, science, and language arts. Though these tests are partially designed to measure the effectiveness of a school program, they are also used to determine funding for public schools 鈥 this puts a lot of pressure on schools to ensure that their students perform well.

With so much riding on these tests, it is no wonder that many students develop test anxiety. Anxiety over testing can turn even the smartest, most intelligent student into an F student. But what is text anxiety and how do you deal with it? Keep reading to find out.

What is Test Anxiety?

According to the , test anxiety is a psychological condition in which students experience extreme distress before, during, and/or after a test or exam. This level of stress makes it difficult for the student to do their best work 鈥 it even causes some students to freeze up entirely and to forget everything they鈥檝e learned. As many as 20% of school children have severe test anxiety and another 18% have a more moderate form of the condition. Understanding what test anxiety is and how

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