- Compare and contrast question 1 (p. 5-6) on the 2015 exam with question 6 (p. 12) on the 2010 exam (the reduction potential table was on p. 3.) Both questions touch on the same learning objectives. Do you detect the shift? Does one type of question demand higher-order comprehension of the material over the other? Have the changes improved or eroded utility of the items for assessment of students’ understanding?
- Same questions as above, but this time compare question 3 (p. 9-10; note parts e) and f) on the second page) on the 2015 exam with question 1 (p. 6) on the 2003 exam.
- Want more? All of the free response questions from 1999 to the present are available. In addition, bits and stylistic pieces of questions from the 1980s and 1990s are lingering online if you know where to look.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Guest post: whither the AP exam?, by NeHeNTh
[Hello there, it's CJ. This is a guest post on the AP exam by a respected reader of the blog, NeHeNTh.]
The 2015 Advanced Placement Chemistry exam was administered on Monday of last week to approximately 130,000 U.S. students, and on Wednesday afternoon, as is traditional, the free response section* of the exam was made public on the College Board AP Chemistry exam website.
The released portion of the exam reflects the refurbishment of the AP Chemistry curriculum that was introduced for the 2013-2014 school year. The changes are subtle and reflective of a number of controversial tweaks and cuts from the curriculum. I am curious to read any comments you are willing to make on your perceptions of exam question types that have been obviously overhauled. For instance:
Did you take a version of this exam in high school? How do you remember it? Do you think (if, as a chemist, you could “unlearn what you have learned”) that the 2015 exam would seem easier, more difficult, or approximately the same compared with previous tests? What about the new omission of reaction prediction questions? You know, the old “predict the product(s) and write the balanced equation for the reduction of solid iron(III) oxide with solid carbon.” (2009 p. 9)
How would an undergraduate fare on this test after a year of chemistry and, for that matter, can anyone comment on how some of our advanced high school chemistry students would compare to students on a similar level internationally? (Has anyone seen an A Level test from the U.K., for instance?) What repercussions for AP Chemistry would you anticipate as a result of the changes?
By the way, here are the score distributions for 2013 (the last “old” exam) and 2014 (the first “new” exam).
*Sixty multiple choice items make up roughly half of a student’s score, but multiple choice questions are released only rarely. Perhaps quality distractors are just too difficult to write; three wrong answers have to anticipate misconceptions and look “reasonable.”
CJ here again - thanks to NeHeNTh for their interesting post!