Advanced Placement (AP) Courses
In making course selections, students should be aware of the differences between an AP course and a College Prep course. These differences are as follows:
1) The workload in an AP course is more demanding, in terms of both the amount of work and the difficulty. The pace of an AP course is also accelerated. Students in AP should expect their homework assignments to take longer and to be more challenging than those they would receive in a College Prep course.
2) The standards for achievement in AP are more rigorous; in other words, it is harder to achieve high grades in AP courses.
3) Students in AP courses are expected to be self-motivated and to function with a high degree of independence.
4) Students who accept placement in AP are expected to understand the challenges of the course before committing themselves to it, and to continue to embrace those challenges throughout the course. Students and their families must accept the amount and difficulty of the workload, as well as the rigor of the grading policy.
AP Environmental Science
AP Environmental Science is a rigorous college level science course that stresses scientific principles and analysis, and includes a laboratory and field investigation component. The course provides students with the scientific concepts and methodologies necessary to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to analyze environmental problems both natural and man-made, and to examine solutions for correcting and preventing these problems. Specific topics include air and water quality, energy resources, mining, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and biodiversity. The course is interdisciplinary by nature, and while primarily focused on the sciences, also includes connections to computer applications, politics, economics, law, philosophy, and ethics. Students are expected to take the College Board AP examination in May.
AP English Literature and Composition
AP English Literature challenges students to read and interpret a wide range of imaginative works. The course invites students to explore a variety of genres and literary periods and to write clearly about the literature they encounter. On a daily basis, it asks them to read critically, think clearly, and write concisely. By the end of the course, students have cultivated a rich understanding of literary works and acquired a set of analytical skills they will use throughout their lives. Students are expected to take the College Board AP examination in May.
AP English Language & Composition
This AP English course will: • provide the rigors of the Advanced Placement course in English Language and Composition • satisfy the criteria for Tennessee state standards “An AP 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 in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations, and subjects as well as the way generic conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing. The AP Language and Composition course …enables students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers.” (The College Board, 2006) The purpose of this course is to help students “write effectively and confidently in their college courses across the curriculum and their professional and personal lives.” (The College Board, AP English Course Description, May 2007, May 2008 p.6) The course is organized according to the requirements and guidelines of the current AP English Course Description, and therefore, students are expected to read critically, think analytically, and communicate clearly both in writing and speech. Students entering AP English are already skilled in basic composition, and are proficient in their use of standard English grammar and mechanics. Expected here is refinement of these skills to develop sophistication and stylistic maturity in writing. The students will demonstrate their writing skills through journals, timed essays, multi-draft essays and a persuasive research paper of some length. The course will also emphasize critical reading of various prose styles and require numerous essays demonstrating students’ skill in analyzing the standard rhetorical modes. Thoughtful reading will be reflected in AP test practices-both objective and open-ended questions, journals, daily assignments, class discussions and an individual oral presentation based on independent reading. Additionally, in accordance with Tennessee standards, the course will follow a skeletal chronological core of the canon of great works in World Literature.
AP European History
AP European History examines the history of western civilization from the “waning” of the middle ages (c. 1450) to the present. The course is designed to provide students with a rigorous academic experience that will serve them well in their college preparation as well as to offer thorough preparation for the AP European History examination. The study of European history since 1450 introduces students to cultural, economic, political, and social developments that played a fundamental role in shaping the world in which they live. Without this knowledge, we would lack the context for understanding the development of contemporary institutions, the role of continuity and change in present-day society and politics, and the evolution of current forms of artistic expression and intellectual discourse. In addition to providing a basic narrative of events and movements, the goals of AP European History are to develop (a) an understanding of some of the principal themes in modern European history, (b) an ability to analyze historical evidence and historical interpretation, and (c) an ability to express historical understanding in writing.