Friday, January 31, 2014

What Makes a Pre-AP Math Course Pre-AP?

By Sharri Zachary, RME Mathematics Research Coordinator

Pre-AP courses are designed to prepare students for college. According to The College Board (2014), Pre-AP courses are based on the following premises:
  • All students can perform at rigorous academic levels
  • Every student can engage in higher levels of learning when they are prepared as early as possible
As we transition into implementation of the revised Texas Essentials of Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), we have to ensure that Pre-AP courses still fulfill the purpose for which they are intended. The revised TEKS have added a level of academic rigor for ALL students in the general education classroom. Students are expected to deepen their conceptual understanding of math concepts, including reasoning and justifying their solution. This means that students in Pre-AP courses have to be met with challenges that expand their knowledge and skills and push them a notch above, toward the next level. We have to be cautious to avoid students receiving Pre-AP credit for course work that is not Pre-AP.

Pre-AP Math Course Goals:
  • Teach on grade level but at a higher level of academic rigor
  • Assess students at a level similar to what is offered in an AP course (rigorous multiple-choice and free-response formats)
  • Promote student development in skills, habits, and concepts necessary for college success
  • Encourage students to develop their communication skills in mathematics to interpret problem situations and explain solutions both orally and written
  • Incorporate technology as a tool for help in solving problems, experimenting, interpreting results, and verifying solutions
This is just a small list of goals for Pre-AP math courses. The College Board has official Pre-AP courses in mathematics (and English language arts) for middle and high school students offered through their SpringBoard program (The College Board, 2014). These courses offer rigorous curriculum and formative assessments consistent with their beliefs and expectations.

The College Board. (2014). Pre-AP. Retrieved from

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