Reminder
Reminder
January 31, 2015

Deadline for the initial submission of course materials (a syllabus and Course Audit form) for the 2014-15 school year.

To receive authorization from the College Board to label a course “AP,” each teacher must create an account online with the AP Course Audit and submit important materials related to the course: a course syllabus and the subject-specific electronic AP Course Audit form. Once the AP Course Audit form is approved by a Course Audit ¬†administrator, the teacher's syllabus is forwarded electronically to an external college faculty reviewer who will validate that it does indeed demonstrate how the course meets the curricular requirements for that subject.

Evidence of a requirement can take different forms; a teacher might demonstrate how the course meets the requirements by describing what content is covered, by referencing assignments or assessments given in the class, or by stating explicitly that certain requirements are a part of the class. To see examples that demonstrate how various requirements can be met, visit the link below:

Outcomes of Review
Reviewer Eligibility Requirements
Reviewer Selection and Training Process
Evaluating Resources/Textbooks
Checks & Balances

Outcomes of Review

Schools will receive notification of a course's authorization status within 60 days of the teacher having submitted both required documents. For a course to be authorized, the syllabus must clearly and explicitly demonstrate that each of the AP course's curricular requirements is addressed in the course.

There are two possible outcomes of the initial review:

  1. If the reviewer finds that the syllabus meets or exceeds the requirements listed on the AP Course Audit form, the authorization of that course will be noted on the school's AP Course Audit status page on the Web, and the teacher will be notified via email. The authorized AP course will then be included in the Ledger that is made available to colleges and universities annually in November.
  2. If the reviewer cannot determine that the syllabus meets or exceeds the requirements listed on the AP Course Audit form, that submission is routed to a senior reviewer. If the senior reviewer agrees that the syllabus does not clearly and explicitly demonstrate that each of the curricular requirements is addressed in the course, the senior reviewer will provide the teacher with specific, objective rationale(s) explaining why. The rationale(s) the senior reviewer provides will be included in an e-mail that is sent to the teacher. The teacher will then have the opportunity to revise and re-submit the syllabus based on the feedback received.

If, after resubmitting a revised syllabus, the expert reviewers still cannot make a determination to authorize the course, a curriculum advisor will be available to provide additional suggestions for how the syllabus could be revised. The teacher will then have a third and final chance to revise and submit the syllabus.

If, after submitting the revised syllabus a third time, reviewers cannot find clear and explicit evidence of the curricular requirements, or an alternate approach to those requirements that nonetheless enables the teacher to provide a college-level learning opportunity to students, the course will not be authorized to use the AP designation for the school year. The school is still welcome to order and administer AP Exams in that subject, and the teacher can re-submit materials for authorization in the following year. It is the school's responsibility to ensure the AP courses listed on students' transcripts, course catalogs, and the school's Web site are authorized and annually renewed through the AP Course Audit process.

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Reviewer Eligibility Requirements

To become a reviewer or senior reviewer, educators must meet the following eligibility criteria and successfully complete a training process:

Reviewer:

  • College faculty who have taught one semester of the course they are reviewing within the past 3 years. 
  • Recently retired (less than 3 years) college faculty who have taught the course they are reviewing.

Senior Reviewer:

  • College faculty who have taught one semester of the course they are reviewing within the past 3 years.

Current AP teachers are not eligible to be reviewers for the AP Course Audit.

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Reviewer Selection and Training Process

The process of selecting and training reviewers for the AP Course Audit is as follows:

  • Potential reviewers are required to participate in an online training session, which explains and discusses the specific criteria for reviewing syllabi in the subject area. The training session also focuses on evaluating syllabi fairly and without personal bias.
  • Potential reviewers then rate a series of syllabi online. These syllabi have been carefully selected and annotated by senior reviewers in the subject area. Reviewers must rate the pre-selected syllabi consistently and accurately before they are cleared to become reviewers.

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Evaluating Resources/Textbooks

When determining whether the textbooks and classroom resources listed on a teacher's syllabus meet the requirements, reviewers will consider how these items enable the teacher to meet the curricular requirements for the course. The College Board has published non-exhaustive lists of example textbooks for each AP subject that can enable teachers to meet the curricular requirements for each course. Schools do not have to use textbooks on these lists in order for their courses to be approved. These lists are not exhaustive and do not signify an endorsement by the College Board. These lists will be updated annually, and are available within the Teacher section of the AP Course Audit website on each subject-specific page.

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Checks and Balances

Various steps are taken to ensure that all AP Course Audit materials are reviewed fairly and consistently:

  • Teachers are able to submit syllabi up to three times before a final determination about the course is made.
  • Senior reviewers will perform a complete back-up review for all courses that are not authorized after the initial review. The senior reviewer will either confirm or negate the judgments of the reviewer.
  • Reviewers will regularly rate pre-scored, benchmark documents intermixed with new submissions to ensure consistent, reliable rating. If a reviewer rates a benchmark document inaccurately, that reviewer will be required to complete an online retraining exercise before being allowed to resume reviewing.
  • Every 20th syllabus that is authorized in its first review will be re-read.
  • The ratings that each reviewer gives each course will be tracked statistically to identify outliers. This analysis will gauge leniency and severity bias as well as unusual patterns in the responses to individual items. The analysis will also track the time spent analyzing each document to determine whether any reviewer is rating documents too quickly.

The College Board has contracted with the Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC), a not-for-profit organization based at the University of Oregon, to coordinate the AP Course Audit submission and review process. EPIC works to improve educational policy and practices in ways that lead to more productive education results for all students and particularly for students historically underserved by public schools. EPIC conducts a range of policy-related research studies in support of this goal. A key distinguishing feature of EPIC is its pioneering use of state-of-the-art criterion-based, standards-referenced course and document analysis techniques and methods. Currently, EPIC's focus is on creating a climate of change that supports dramatically improved college readiness for more U.S high school students.

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News and Updates

Annual AP Course Renewals

Beginning in August of each academic year, AP Course Audit administrators are responsible for renewing previously authorized courses that will again be offered. Administrators can renew courses online from their AP Course Audit account.

Independent Survey on
State of AP

A new report on AP provides the perspective of a national sample of AP teachers on issues of the program's quality, growth, equity and rigor.
Read More Read more

 
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