It’s that time of year when school leaders reflect on the past several months and plan for what lies ahead. They evaluate master schedules and make decisions about what’s best for their schools. The choices that school leaders make are critical to student outcomes, but such choices are not the only ones that school leaders are managing.

In a moment of information overload, easy-to-digest details about new courses and their value are key to solidifying plans for the upcoming academic year.

AP Seminar as English 10

Advanced Placement® courses are the building blocks of many schools’ schedules because of their unique benefits for students. Each school takes a slightly different approach to implementation—something the Advanced Placement Program has observed in particular with AP® Seminar.

An AP course with no prerequisites, AP Seminar helps a wide range of students develop critical thinking, analytic writing, collaboration, and academic research skills on topics of the teacher’s and student’s choice. Across the country, many schools have started to use AP Seminar as their English 10 course.

Here are three reasons why:

  1. Powerful outcomes for students. When compared with their peers not enrolled in AP, tenth grade AP Seminar students on average:
    • Earn higher scores on AP English, history, and government exams taken in grades 11 and 12
    • Achieve higher first-year college GPAs
    • Are more likely to persist in college
  2. Flexibility for teachers. AP Seminar gives teachers room to layer in cross-curricular content and integrate their states’ English standards. Teachers, and their students, also have access to free resources on AP Classroom.
  3. Skill-building for the future. Students who complete AP Seminar as their English 10 course develop transferable research skills including investigation, collaboration, writing, and presentation skills. The course also exposes students to writing tasks that prepare them for assignments in high school and college courses.

Teacher Feedback

As a former principal, I’ve heard the most resonant feedback about AP Seminar directly from teachers:

  • Motivation. “Students are able to choose topics that they care about. They learn traditional English class skills while researching and writing about something that interests them. They’re more motivated to learn these writing skills when they’re using them to examine a topic they feel passionate about.” — Allison Friedman, English Teacher (AP Seminar)
  • Real-World Exploration. “Many English classes are driven by content and spend the year with readings dominated by imaginative literature. AP Seminar has created a broader context for reading informational texts, but more importantly, the performance tasks have pushed students to explore the world around them for a deeper understanding of how it all works. Doing real-world investigations and offering research-based solutions have produced some critical thinkers who are motivated to do something in their community. — James Wszolek, English Teacher (AP Seminar)
  • Time Management. “Our students use their time management skills and analysis skills more than any other single skill. In addition, the students gain so much academic confidence after presenting, discussing, researching, and reading at such high academic levels that they’re well prepared for a number of advanced courses.” – Jennifer Solt, English Language Arts Teacher (AP Seminar)

For more on how schools are using AP Seminar and the benefits for students, visit collegeboard.org/apseminarELA.


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