The Allegheny Valley School District’s Advanced Placement (AP) Program gives students an opportunity to take college-level courses and exams in high school. Through these courses, students may earn credit, advanced placement, or both for college. Six subject areas are offered at Springdale Jr-Sr High School. However, depending on a student’s ability and interest, other courses can be arranged through local colleges or distance learning.
These courses require much more in-depth study than regular classes at the high school. They also require additional time for homework and to prepare for a day’s lesson. Some courses offered require prerequisite classes that must be taken before a student signs up for the course. Guidance counselors, administrators, or teachers should be consulted to determine if a student should consider enrolling in one or more of the AP courses.
All of the Advanced Placement courses necessitate prerequisite classes. Students must have passed these courses before enrolling in the AP class. In addition, significant amounts of reading are required in all disciplines. Students will also need to devote additional hours of study time to be successful in the courses. Some of the offered AP courses also require summer work – projects and/or reading assignments. Students can receive a copy from their counselor or the course instructor.Course Descriptions
- American History – The AP American History course provides students with analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to understand the historical, political, and cultural aspects of the development of the United States. The course prepares the student for intermediate and advanced courses in college by making demands equivalent to those made by a full-year introductory college course. Historical materials and interpretations will be assessed in order to make conclusions necessary to present sound evaluations in oral and written forms.
- Biology – The purpose of the AP Biology course is to provide interested students with an opportunity to participate in a college-level experience in high school. To provide the student with the experience of a “typical” first-year college biology course, three general biology areas are covered: molecules and cells, genetics and evolution, and organisms and populations. All suggested laboratory investigations are done as time permits.
- Calculus – This course is designed to provide an intensive and thorough review of all advanced algebra, pre-calculus, and calculus topics previously studied with an emphasis on problem solving, real-life applications, long-term lab activities, group work, and the use of the graphics calculator. Topics covered include the transcendental functions including exponential and logarithmic functions, methods of integration, conic section curves, applications of the integral, and polar coordinates.
- Chemistry – The AP Chemistry course is intended to meet the objectives of a general chemistry course at the college level. Students in such a course should attain a depth of understanding of fundamentals and competence in dealing with chemical problems that will enable them to undertake further work in chemistry or related fields with confidence. The course should contribute to the development of the student’s ability to think analytically and to express his/her ideas orally and in writing with clarity and logic.
- English 11 – The AP 11 course in English Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts and becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. This college level course assumes that students already understand and use standard English grammar. The intense concentration on language use in this course should enhance students’ abilities to use grammatical conventions both appropriately and with sophistication as well as to develop stylistic maturity in their prose.
- English 12 – The AP English curriculum is designed to provide challenging studies in literature, composition, and vocabulary. Depth and pace of study in each area is expanded. The course provides an opportunity for secondary school students to pursue and receive credit for college-level course work and/or placement. The curriculum is left fluid so that the teacher may adopt and adjust materials to the best advantage of each class.
The AP Exams
The College Entrance Examination Board sponsors the Advanced Placement Exams. Each exam is based on the subject matter outlined in its corresponding AP Course Description. Exams are given at the high school facility based on a previously developed schedule.
Questions on the exams include two sections: multiple-choice and free-response. Multiple-choice questions require students to select the correct answer from several choices and allow students to demonstrate their knowledge across a broad array of topics. Free-response questions require students to organize their knowledge and to produce clear, coherent answers that demonstrate an understanding of the course and specific concepts.
If a grade of three or better is earned, students could receive credit for the equivalent course at one of the more than 3,000 colleges and universities that give credit for AP.
What makes the AP classes so valuable? Students can challenge themselves and begin to prepare for college-level work. Exams also enable students to earn college credit without paying for the course at a college or university. Students get a head start, increase their options, and improve their self-esteem by succeeding in a rigorous academic program.
The AP experience is rich and rewarding. The hard work pays off by helping students to develop skills and study habits they will use in post-high school education. In addition, most colleges view any AP experience as a plus when students apply.