Welcome to Mrs. Pierce’s AP Language and Composition class! In order to obtain the most conducive learning environment, I will use the following classroom and grading policy. It is important that you and your parents read this policy, in order for you to be successful in this class. The easiest way to contact me is via email; however, do not hesitate to call if you have a question.
Teacher Contact Information
Janelle Pierce, M.A. English & M.A. Teaching
Phone: (480) 279-7300
Office Hours: Mon/Th 2:15-2:24pm or by appointment
· College ruled, white loose-leaf paper
· Pen (black or blue)
· Highlighters in multiple colors
· College ruled spiral notebook
· Additional items may be required as projects are assigned.
Students in this introductory college-level course read and carefully analyze a broad and challenging range of nonfiction prose selections, deepening their awareness of rhetoric and how language works. Through close reading and frequent writing, students develop their ability to work with language and text with a greater awareness of purpose and strategy, while strengthening their own composing abilities. Students examine and work with essays, letters, speeches, images, and imaginative literature. Students frequently confer about their writing during formal and informal class discussions. Course readings feature expository, analytical, personal, and argumentative texts from a variety of authors and historical contexts. Central course textbooks include:
· Into the Wild (Jon Krakauer)
· Everything’s an Argument with Readings, 4th Edition (Andrea A. Lunsford)
· The Bedford Reader, 9th Edition (X.J. Kennedy)
NOTE: By acknowledging this syllabus via email, you are permitting your teen to read the texts listed herein, as well as other reading selections as assigned. All texts have been reviewed/approved by the HHS Administration and many are listed on the AP College Board reading list. However, parents are encouraged to also review and research these and other titles as they are assigned. Then, if at any time you prefer an alternate text or reading assignment be created and provided for your teen, please email me directly at Janelle.email@example.com with your request.
Course reading and writing activities should help students gain textual power, making them more alert to an author’s purpose, the needs of an audience, the demands of the subject, and the resources of language: syntax, word choice, and tone. By early May of the school year, students will have nearly completed a course in close reading and purposeful writing. The critical skills that students learn to appreciate through close and continued analysis of a wide variety of nonfiction texts can serve them in their own writing as they grow increasingly aware of these skills and their pertinent uses. During the course, a wide variety of texts (prose and image based) and writing tasks provide the focus for an energetic study of language, rhetoric, and argument.
Students prepare for the AP® English Language and Composition Exam and may be granted advanced placement, college credit, or both as a result of satisfactory performance. As this is a college-level course, performance expectations are appropriately high, and the workload is challenging. Students are expected to commit to a minimum of five hours of course work per week outside of class. Often, this work involves long-term writing and reading assignments, so effective time management is important. Because of the demanding curriculum, students must bring to the course sufficient command of mechanical conventions and an ability to read and discuss prose.
The course is constructed in accordance with the guidelines described in the AP English Course Description and several, if not all, scoring components are addressed each quarter throughout the course. See the final page of this syllabus for a list of AP Language and Compositions scoring components.
Student thinking, writing, reading, listening, and speaking are at the center of class activity. Grading is viewed in this context. Student performance and progress, as evidenced by papers, in-class commitment, homework, and daily preparation is continually assessed.
Course products are regularly reviewed by the instructor and grades are updated weekly in the online Synergy gradebook. To access the Synergy gradebook, go to the HUSD website at www.husd.org and click on the Parents or Students tab at the top of the screen. Then scroll down and click on the ParentVue or StudentVue link.
The following letter-grade system will be used to grade student work:
Below 60 F
Student performance in connection with important course components contributes to each student’s final grade for the course in the following manner:
20% Final Exam
I do not offer extra credit assignments. If you are meeting the expectations, you will not need extra credit.
Upon completing the AP English Language and Composition course students should be able to:
· Analyze and interpret samples of good writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques
· Apply effective strategies and techniques in their own writing
· Create and sustain arguments based on readings, research and/or personal experience
· Write for a variety of purposes
· Produce expository, analytical and argumentative compositions that introduce a complex central idea and develop it with appropriate evidence drawn from primary and/or secondary sources, cogent explanations and clear transitions
· Demonstrate understanding and mastery of standard written English as well as stylistic maturity in their own writings
· Move effectively through the stages of the writing process, with careful attention to inquiry and research, drafting, revising, editing and review
· Write thoughtfully about their own process of composition
· Revise work to make it suitable for a different audience
· Analyze image as text
· Evaluate and incorporate reference documents into researched papers
AP Exam Scores
The AP exam scores on the free-response questions are combined with the results of the computer-scores multiple-choice questions; the weighted raw scores are summed to give a composite score. The composite score is then converted to a score on AP’s 5-point scale. While colleges and universities are responsible for setting their own credit and placement policies, AP scores signify how qualified students are to receive college credit or placement:
Extremely well qualified
AP Exam scores of 5 are equivalent to A grades in the corresponding college course. AP Exam scores of 4 are equivalent to grades of A-, B+ and B in college. AP Exam scores of 3 are equivalent to grades of B-, C+ and C in college.
Credit and Placement for AP Scores
Thousands of two- and four-year colleges and universities grant credit, placement or both for qualifying AP Exam scores because these scores represent a level of achievement equivalent to that of students who have taken the comparable college course. This college-level equivalency is ensured through several AP Program processes.
Plagiarism is defined as intentionally using information from or property of another without permission in order to obtain an unfair advantage or receive a grade or score that was not legitimately earned. This includes copying information off of another student’s paper, copying and pasting or quoting/paraphrasing large amounts of information from outside sources (in excess of 20% in one assignment, even if properly cited), purchasing papers from the Internet and submitting them as one’s own, allowing others to complete one’s work, AND using one’s own final draft work previously submitted for a grade.
In the event of plagiarism or cheating of any kind, the minimum action to be taken includes a verbal warning, parent contact, and possible loss of credit. The maximum action to be taken includes 1-2 days in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension and possible loss of credit.
Mandatory After-School Tutoring (MAST) Policy
What is the policy?
Every student, whether working in an on-level class, an AP/honors class, and/or under an Individual Education Plan or a 504 Plan, is expected to complete classwork and homework assignments on time*, to the best of his or her ability, and on a consistent basis so that the course grade remains above a C. If at any time a student's grade falls below a C as a result of missing work, the student will be assigned Mandatory After-School Tutoring (MAST) every Tuesday and Thursday until the grade is raised to a C or higher.
* "On time" refers to either the regularly scheduled due date or an extended due date per teacher-parent-student agreement or an adjusted due date per an IEP or 504 Plan. Students may not extend their own due dates, without approval from the teacher, at any time.
How do I know if I have MAST?
It is each student's responsibility to remain aware of his or her course grade by checking StudentVue on a weekly, if not daily, basis. When students are assigned MAST, an email will be sent home by Monday at 3 p.m. to alert parents and I will try to remind students, as well, but students will not necessarily be contacted directly. Even without being reminded, students with Ds and Fs will be expected to show up on time for MAST on Tuesday and Thursday.
When and where is MAST?
MAST is held in Mrs. Pierce’s room every Tuesday and Thursday after school, from 2:15 to 2:45. Students who are late will not be allowed to enter. Students who leave early will be rescheduled to serve the entire session the following week. Students must come to MAST prepared with all the resources, assignment directions, etc. that they need to work on upcoming assignments with Mrs. Pierce. Music players, cell phones, tablets, etc. are not permitted.
What if I miss MAST?
If a student misses a scheduled MAST session, s/he will automatically be assigned an additional session during the following week to make up for the missed session. If a student misses three scheduled MAST sessions (consecutively or not), s/he will be referred to the principal or an assistant principal for disciplinary action and s/he may be assigned in Saturday school or suspension, at the principal's or assistant principal's discretion.
Late Work Policy
No late work will be accepted for any reason without written permission from Mrs. Pierce OR an excused absence from administration. For any assignment not submitted by the original deadline or an approved extended deadline, a zero will be posted in the grade book and the student will not be provided any recourse to remove the score. This policy applies to ALL course work including, but not limited to, the following: in-class activities, homework practice activities, formal essays, timed writes, projects, presentations, formative assessments, weekly quizzes, unit tests, etc.
Students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are strongly encouraged to follow the policies outlined herein. However, if an IEP specifically allows for extra time on assignments, the student may automatically extend a due date upon conference with Mrs. Pierce, either verbally or in writing.
If you have a conflicting issue with an assignment, please talk to me BEFORE it is due! It is unacceptable to come to class unprepared.
Zeros are unacceptable.
*See the teacher page listed above, under Teacher Contact Information, for information about due date extension requests.
Make-Up Work Policy
In the event of an excused absence, an assignment due date will be extended equal to the number of days the student was excused. Make-up work will be accepted for full credit up to the new due date and IF it is submitted correctly, with a short note (on a separate sheet of paper) attached to the top of the late assignment indicating the specific dates and days the student was excused. It is the student’s responsibility to find out what s/he missed while absent by checking the class calendar on the teacher page and conferring with peers AND to calculate new due dates correctly and to ensure work is submitted properly, according to these guidelines.
Students must be in their seats when the bell rings. If a student arrives to class late, they will be required to sign in. Upon the third tardy, students will be assigned after school detention with the teacher. Upon the fourth tardy, students will be referred to administration and s/he may be assigned in Saturday school or suspension, at the principal's or assistant principal's discretion.
An absence is defined as a student's non-attendance in the student's assigned classroom during an assigned period. The difference between an excused absence and an unexcused absence is parents have followed procedures to excuse a student by calling the attendance line. However, the accumulation of excused and unexcused occurrences will result in potential consequences. ALL absences accrue towards the limit of 10 per semester. Higley Unified School District has implemented a limit of ten absences per semester. If the student acquires ten or more absences during a semester, the student will lose credit in those classes. To earn credit while auditing a class, the student must submit an appeal to administration, attend all classes after the appeal is presented, and pass the semester final exam with a minimum of 75%. Subsequent appeals can be appealed to the School Board.
Students are expected to adhere to all guidelines outlined in the HUSD Student Code of Conduct, including (but not limited to) the following:
· No food, drink, or gum is allowed in classrooms (no gum allowed on campus).
· No hats are allowed in classrooms.
· Students are expected to come to class prepared every day with the materials listed above and all homework and reading assignments completed.
· At any time, if your cell phone is visible or heard it will be confiscated per the HHS policy and stored in the bookstore until after school (see your student handbook). Ipods in class are a “no” unless I specifically say, “yes.” There is a time and place for them.
· Students must be in their assigned seats when the beginning bell rings and must remain on task until dismissed by the instructor at the closing bell.
· Hall passes will not be permitted except in cases of emergency or school-related business and all students must sign out and back in to the classroom. Out of courtesy, please do not ask to leave while I am addressing the group as a whole. You will not be allowed to use the restroom in the first or last 10 minutes of class – use your passing periods.
Failure to adhere to any of the guidelines outlined in the HUSD Student Code of Conduct and/or the expectations listed above are subject to the following disciplinary actions.
· First Offense: Student-teacher conference (possible parent communication)
· Second Offense: Parent contact
· Third Offense: After school detention
· Fourth Offense: Parent conference (may involve counselor/administrator)
· Fifth Offense: Referral to administration
Note that more serious offenses may result in immediate ASD, parent conference, and/or referral to administration.
All individuals have a right to an educational environment free from bias, prejudice and bigotry. As members of the Higley High School educational community, students are expected to refrain from participating in acts of harassment that are designed to demean another student’s race, gender, ethnicity, religious preference, disability or sexual orientation.
Turnitin.com: Students will send submission copies of papers to the turnitin.com website. Submission copies are due by 11:59 p.m. on the day prior to the due date. The writer of any paper with a significant match to one or more sources without proper documentation is subject to disciplinary action. Students are expected to follow the tutorial for the turnitin.com website within the first few days of class, establishing their passwords and profiles.
See the final page of this syllabus for a list of AP Language and Compositions scoring components [noted in brackets below].
Daily Writing Practice [SC3]: Daily activities focus on honing various writing skills, including imitation exercises, anecdotal writing, grammar and usage strategies, using academic voice in writing, and creating tone through word choices and syntax. Students will also analyze how graphics and visual images both relate to written texts and serve as alternative forms of text themselves.
Vocabulary Assessments [SC3, SC12]: Students study rhetorical device terms in relation to rhetorical strategies used in writing through close reading activities and imitation writing exercises. In addition, students study vocabulary word lists from course readings, outside research, class discussions, and personal discovery. Biweekly tests are used to assess students’ ability to recognize word meanings in context and their ability to use new vocabulary effectively in written communications.
Socratic Seminars [SC4, SC9, SC11]: Students discuss current events (public policies, popular culture, personal experiences) with peers, using independent research of published political writing, essays, journalism and higher order thinking questions. Students are assessed on effective use of primary and secondary sources to support ideas expressed in prewriting, as well as during discussion.
Book Studies [SC3, SC5, SC7]: Students engage in at least one book study per quarter, based on a non-fiction text selected from the AP College Board reading list. Students analyze and evaluate text through close reading and annotation, small-group discussion, in-class written response, and formal essays.
Timed Writes [SC5, SC7]: Students write in several forms (expository, analytical and argumentative) in response to pre and Post-20th Century nonfiction readings (e.g., essays, journalism, political writing, science writing, nature writing, autobiographies/biographies, diaries, history, and criticism). Students use timed writes to identify and explain an author’s use of rhetorical strategies and techniques.
Writing Process [SC12, SC13, SC14, SC15, SC16]: Students conduct peer reviews and self-reflections on most timed writes and formal essays that proceed through several stages or drafts, in addition to submitting work for instructor review and feedback that help the students develop these skills:
· A wide-ranging vocabulary used appropriately and effectively
· A variety of sentence structures, including appropriate use of subordination and coordination
· Logical organization, enhanced by specific techniques to increase coherence, such as repetition, transitions, and emphasis
· A balance of generalization and specific, illustrative detail
· An effective use of rhetoric, including controlling tone, establishing and maintaining voice, and achieving appropriate emphasis through diction and sentence structure
Formal Essays [SC1, SC2, SC4, SC12, SC13, SC14, SC15, SC16]: Students compose essays using different rhetorical modes (e.g., description, compare/contrast, cause-effect, analytical, persuasive and synthesis). Students submit several drafts for feedback from peers and the instructor and revise writing based on that feedback. Final drafts are assessed for effective use of rhetoric, a wide range of vocabulary, logical and coherent organization, balanced and illustrative discussion, and correct grammar and usage. Students utilize research to evaluate, use, and cite sources using a recognized editorial style (e.g., Modern Language Association, The Chicago Manual of Style, etc.).
Final Exam [SC5, SC7]: At the end of the each quarter, students take a 40-minute exam featuring one AP free-response question from a released exam, focusing on prose analysis and rhetoric. At the end of the second quarter and first semester, students take an 80-minute exam featuring two AP free-response questions from released exams – one focusing on prose analysis and rhetoric, the other on argument. At the end of the fourth quarter and second semester, students either take the actual AP Language & Composition exam or a mock AP Language & Composition exam featuring three AP free-response questions from released exams – one focusing on prose analysis and rhetoric, one on argument, and one on synthesis – and 54 multiple-choice questions.
Scope & Sequence Overview
Course Orientation, Introduction to Close Reading, and Rhetorical Awareness: Students are exposed to various rhetorical modes of writing. Reading activities focus on Post 20th-Century non-fiction and learning activities are designed to help students draw on texts from different cultural and historical milieus in order to increase familiarity with various rhetorical modes. Reading selections are used as a foundation for formal and informal written responses, as well as a basis for classroom discussion. Students will also experiment with various patterns of development in their own writing.
Week 1- Aug. 4-8
Close vs. Active Reading
Intro to Rhetoric
Week 2- Aug. 11-15
Week 3- Aug. 18-22
Boxman by Barbara Ascher
Map MC Questions
Into the Wild ch. 1-2
Week 4- Aug. 25-29
Into The Wild CH: 5-8
Letter from Birmingham Jail Analysis
Citizenship Global Discussion
Week 5- Sept. 1-5
Into the Wild Ch. 13-16
Rhetorical Analysis- Sojourner Truth and Abigail Adams
Women’s Rights Global Citizenship Discussion
Week 6- Sept. 8-12
Into the Wild CH 17-18
Rhetorical Analysis- Anna Quindlen’s “Homeless”
Citizenship Global Discussion
Week 7- Sept. 15- 19
Complete Into the Wild
Cannons of Rhetoric
Abstract Concept Essay
The Nature and Importance of Liberty Global Awareness Discussion
Week 8- Sept. 22-26
Using medical jargon to describe art
Timed Write- Last Child in the Woods
MC Analysis- Last Child in the Woods
Take Home MC Due- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Take Home Analysis Writing Due- “Indispensable Opposition” by Walter Lippman
Analysis Prompt Scoring
Week 9- Sept. 29- Oct. 3
How to write a 5 or 6
On Being a Cripple by Nancy Mairs Timed Write
Naylor “A Word’s Meaning Can Often Depend on Who Says It” MC
Disabilities Global Awareness Discussion
Take Home MC Due- On Heroes, Heroic Worship, and the Heroic in History
Take Home Analysis Writing Due- Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World” by Scott Russell
Deepening Appreciation of Rhetorical Strategies and Intimations of Argument: Students encounter numerous arguments through a variety of rhetorical modes. Activities are designed to help students utilize rhetorical devices to establish credibility (ethos), appeal to emotions (pathos), and arrange and support ideas (logos) in their own writing. Classroom activities focus on non-fiction selections and online news sources as a basis for written and oral discussion.
Week 11 Oct. 13- 17
Q1 District Writing Assignment
Rhetorical Strategies Presentation and MC
Environmentalists Timed Write
Take Home MC Due- “Of the Pathetic Fallacy”
Take Home Comparison Writing Due- “Coca Cola Letters” by Ira C. Herbert and Richard Seaver
Week 12 Oct. 20-24
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell Argument Analysis Activity
Argument v Persuasion
Argument Writing Prompt (Lord Chesterfield)
Take Home MC- “Of Marriage and Single Life”
Take Home Comparison Essay- “1960’s American Society Passages A &B”
Opportunity Global Citizenship Discussion
Week 13 Oct. 27-31
Argument Body Paragraphs
Outliers Argument Analysis Activity
Take Home MC- “On the Origin of the Species”
Take Home Argument- “Humor” by Alain de Botton
Global Citizenship Discussion
Week 14- Nov. 3- 7
Complete Value Priorities Discussion
Outlier’s analysis and connection to Outliers CH 7
Multiple Choice- Jefferson on George Washington
Take Home MC – “A Vindication of the Rights of Women”
Take Home Analysis Essay- “The Future of Life” by Edward O. Wilson
Week 15 Nov. 10-14
Multiple Choice- Nathaniel Hawthorne on Abraham Lincoln
Take Home MC- “Utopia”
Take Home Argument- “Ownership”
Outliers Discussion- Ch. 7 and culturalism
Week 16 Nov. 17- 21
Argument Writing- Peer Review Take Home Arguments and revise
Voice Lessons Activity
Take Home MC- “A Modest Proposal”
Take Home Argument “Certainty and Doubt”
Week 17 Nov. 24- 28
Write a 9
Week 18 Dec. 1-5
ENG 101 Research Activities- Gathering and Sources
“Why They Hate Us” from Everything’s an Argument
Persuasion/ Magna Soles
Take Home MC- “Civil Disobedience”
Take Home Analysis- “On the Want of Money” by William Hazlitt
Week 19 Dec. 8-12
Annotated Bibliography Due
Multiple Choice (c-129)- “I am a Woman”
Create Reductions to Absurdity
Persuasion Prompt - Cat Veto
Take Home MC- “The Souls of Black Folk”
Take Home Argument- “Rights of Man” Thomas Paine
Week 20 Dec. 15- 19
Final Timed Write
Finals 1991 MC
Understanding and Developing Argument and the Synthesis Essay: Students continue to practice rhetorical analysis and argument techniques, with an increased focus on synthesis. Activities are designed to help students evaluate visual arguments, research data, make logical inferences, and produce written discussions using primary and secondary sources. Classroom activities focus on non-fiction selections and online news sources as a basis for written and oral discussion.
Week 21 Jan. 5-9
Analysis Review- Laying the Foundation
Continue Analysis Review
Barry “The Great Influenza” Thesis/MC and AP Course Descriptions
Week 22 Jan. 12- 16
Intro to Visual Analysis- Laying the Foundation
Take Home MC- “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”
Week 23 Jan. 19- 23
Intro to Synthesis
Socratic Seminar Prep- Everything’s an Argument Ch. 21 “Who’s the Fairest of the All?”
Take Home MC- “The Approaching Conflict”
Week 24 Jan. 26- 30
Socratic Seminar Prep- Everything’s an Argument ch. 22 “How Does the Media Stereotype You?”
Take Home MC- “The Function of Criticism at the Current Time”
Outline Synthesis prompt- Media and Presidential Elections
Week 25 Feb. 2- 6
AP Penny Syntheses- Penny Essay Prompt
Complete Group Essay- Penny Essay, Step by Step Guide(synthesis)
Norm Synthesis Grading- Sample Essays and Scoring Guide
“Make it Fabulous”
Socratic Seminar- Politics and Sports
Week 26 Feb. 9-13
Modes of Writing Review
Fabulous and Modes Completion
Review Cards- World Views- Ap Crash Course ch. 14
Week 27 Feb. 16-20
AzMerit and AP MC- AP Multiple Choice 5
Synthesis- Memorials- Synthesis prompt-pgs 2-9
Synthesis Grading and Review- Research Step 1
ENG 102 Research- in lab with CGCC Librarian
Week 28 Feb. 23- 27
Intro to Fast Food Nation
Fast Food Nation Research in Lab
2012 USPS Synthesis- 2012 USPS Syllabus
2012 USPS Syntheses Sample Responses
Fast Food Nation Research
Week 29 March 2- 6
Computer Lab- Fast Food Nation
Multiple Choice Practice AzMERIT MC Handouts
Fast Food Nation Presentations
Preparation for AP Exam and Understanding Historical Rhetoric of Pre 20th-Century: Students continue working with nonfiction, with a focus on Pre 20th-Century non-fiction, as a foundation for formal and informal written responses, as well as a basis for classroom discussion. Activities are designed to help students perfect test-taking skills and techniques, in preparation for the AP Language and Composition Exam. After the AP Language and Composition Exam, which is administered in early May, students work with a selection of American literature. They also complete their college application essay at this time. Most students choose to complete the personal statement from the Common Application, which is available online (www.commonapp.org).
Week 30 March 16- 20
Begin Q3 Synthesis
Final Review and Goal Setting
Week 31 March 23- 27
Focused MC Question Analysis
Main Idea Focused Practice
Weary Blues Analysis
Week 32 March 30- April 3
Take Home MC- “Diary of Samuel Pepys”
Week 33 April 6- 10
Spring research paper due
Take Home MC- “Women and Labour”
Socratic Seminar Prep- Everything’s an Argument ch. 26 “What Role Should Religion Play in Public Life?”
Week 34 April 13- 17
Socratic Seminar Prep- Everything’s an Argument ch. 27 “What Should ‘Diversity on Campus’ Mean?”
Week 35 April 20- 24
AP practice test
Take Home MC- “The Tatler”
Week 36 April 27- May 1
Note cards- rhetorical strategies review
Week 37 May 4- May 8
Note cards- rhetorical strategies review
Circle map review
Week 38 May 11- 15
AP Lang. test
Intro ignite phoenix present
Week 39 May 18- 22
In class essay
Syllabus Acknowledgment Required ASAP
The course requires students to write in several forms (e.g., narrative, expository, analytical, and argumentative essays) about a variety of subjects (e.g., public policies, popular culture, personal experiences).
The course requires students to write essays that proceed through several stages or drafts with the revision incorporating, as appropriate, feedback from teachers and peers.
The course requires students to write in informal contexts (e.g., imitation exercises, journal keeping, collaborative writing, and in-class responses) designed to help them become increasingly aware of themselves as writers and/or aware of the techniques employed by the writers they read.
1, 2, 3, 4
The course requires students to produce one or more expository writing assignments. Topics should be based on readings representing a wide variety of prose styles and genres and might include such topics as public policies, popular culture, and personal experiences.
The course requires students to produce one or more analytical writing assignments. Topics should be based on readings representing a wide variety of prose styles and genres and might include such topics as public policies, popular culture, and personal experiences.
The course requires students to produce one or more argumentative writing assignments. Topics should be based on readings representing a wide variety of prose styles and genres and might include such topics as public policies, popular culture, and personal experiences.
2, 3, 4
The course requires nonfiction readings (e.g., essays, journalism, political writing, science writing, nature writing, autobiographies/biographies, diaries, history, criticism) that are selected to give students opportunities to explain an author’s use of rhetorical strategies or techniques. If fiction and poetry are also assigned, their main purpose should be to help students understand how various effects are achieved by writers’ linguistic and rhetorical choices.
The course requires students to analyze how visual images relate to written texts and/or how visual images serve as alternative forms of texts.
The course requires students to demonstrate research skills and, in particular, the ability to evaluate, use, and cite primary and secondary sources.
1, 2, 3, 4
The course requires students to produce one or more projects such as the researched argument paper, which goes beyond the parameters of a traditional research paper by asking students to present an argument of their own that includes the synthesis of ideas from an array of sources.
Students will cite sources using a recognized editorial style (e.g., Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, American Psychological Association (APA), etc.).
1, 2, 3, 4
The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments, both before and after the students revise their work that help the students develop a wide-ranging vocabulary used appropriately.
1, 2, 3, 4
The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments both before and after the students revise their work that help the students develop a variety of sentence structures.
1, 2, 3, 4
The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments, both before and after the students revise their work that help the students develop logical organization, enhanced by specific techniques to increase coherence. Such techniques may include traditional rhetorical structures, graphic organizers, and work on repetition, transitions, and emphasis.
1, 2, 3, 4
The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments both before and after they revise their work that help the students develop a balance of generalization and specific, illustrative detail.
1, 2, 3, 4
The AP teacher provides instruction and feedback on students’ writing assignments both before and after they revise their work that help the students establish an effective use of rhetoric including controlling tone and a voice appropriate to the writer’s audience.
1, 2, 3, 4
Each year, Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams are administered under the oversight of the College Board, and matriculating students have the opportunity to earn college credit or advanced standing based upon their performance. The AP World Languages and Cultures program features eight course offerings and reflects the College Board’s commitment to shaping students who are a part of a global community that benefits from the communication and cultural understanding facilitated by foreign language acquisition. The College Board states “advanced language learning offers social, cultural, academic, and workplace benefits that will serve students throughout their lives.”
The AP German Language and Culture course, while not hugely popular overall with students, has seen a steady exam enrollment of about 5,000 students per year for the past decade. In 2016, 4,945 AP German Language and Culture exams were administered. Of these, about 3,300 represented standard group students who have taken high school German courses in a traditional setting, while the remainder were students with significant exposure to the German language outside of the classroom, such as native speakers or students who have studied abroad. If you are interested in taking the AP German Language and Culture exam, whether you’re a native speaker or have enrolled in the course, read on for CollegeVine’s advice on how to prepare for this important test.
About the AP German Language and Culture Exam
The AP German Language and Culture course takes a holistic approach to language instruction, emphasizing functional communication skills over grammatical irregularities and particulars. The curriculum is based on the interconnectedness of comprehension, vocabulary usage, language control, communication strategies, and cultural awareness. In this class, you can expect to learn language structures in context and use them to convey meaning, explore German culture in both contemporary and historical contexts, and receive thematic instruction towards concrete learning objectives.
You will be expected to pursue interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communication skills by speaking, writing, and listening to the German language. Most instruction will be in German and the exam will measure your German language proficiency at the intermediate to pre-advanced range.
There are no formal prerequisites for the AP German Language and Culture course, but this is definitely not an introductory class. It is recommended that you are in your fourth year of high school level German language studies, though some students might arrive at this level of proficiency through outside means rather than the traditional high school coursework.
The AP German Language and Culture exam takes three hours to complete and is comprised of two primary sections. The first section is the multiple choice section. This part of your exam contains 65 questions administered over one hour and 35 minutes, accounting for 50% of your total exam score. The second portion of the exam is the free response section. This part of the exam contains four tasks that account for the remaining 50% of your score. These tasks will take roughly one hour and 30 minutes to complete.
In 2016, 70.9% of all students who took the AP German Language and Culture exam received a score of three or above, thereby passing the exam. 21.4% of all test-takers received the top score of five while only 8.5% of test-takers received the low score of one. Of standard group students who did not experience significant exposure to the German language outside of the classroom, 62.9% of students received a three or above, but only 8.4% received the top score of five.
You should keep in mind that policies regarding college credit and advanced standing vary by school. Specific regulations can be found here.
A full course description that can help to guide your studying and understanding of the knowledge required for the test can be found in the College Board course description.
Read on for tips for preparing for the exam.
Step 1: Assess Your Skills
The first step to developing any study plan is an initial assessment of your current knowledge. To learn more about the importance of formative assessments and how you can use one to get your studying off on the right foot, check out the CollegeVine article What Is a Formative Assessment and Why Should I Use One to Study?
Due probably in part to its low enrollment numbers, there are few study and practice materials available for the AP German Language and Culture exam. There are no publicly available released exams to use for practice, and even sample questions are limited. Some sample questions that can be used to assess your knowledge are available in the official course description. Additional free response questions can be found on AP Central.
Step 2: Study the Material
The best way to gain proficiency in any foreign language is to immerse yourself in it as much as possible. Although there are not many study materials developed specifically for the AP German Language and Culture exam, there are endless German language multimedia materials that can be used to further your knowledge and skills. Seek out German language news, videos, podcasts, and books. Use Google Translate to explore the language. Listen to audio books in German and practice speaking in German with friends, to pets, or even to yourself. The more German you hear, speak, and write, the better your communication skills will become.
Of course, you will not gain the knowledge you need on the AP German Language and Culture exam simply by speaking German to your dog. You’ll also need to spend some time exploring the specific course objectives and themes. The AP German Language and Culture course shapes its instruction around six primary themes. These include:
- Global Challenges
- Science and Technology
- Contemporary Life
- Personal and Public Identities
- Families and Communities
- Beauty and Aesthetics
Instruction and exposure to these themes will take place while working towards the course learning objectives. These objectives are concrete learning goals specified by the College Board, and they include:
- Engage in spoken interpersonal communication;
- Engage in written interpersonal communication;
- Synthesize information from a variety of authentic audio, visual, and audiovisual resources;
- Synthesize information from a variety of authentic written and print resources;
- Plan, produce, and present spoken presentational communications; and
- Plan and produce written presentational communications.
Despite a lack of commercial study materials produced specifically for the AP German Language and Culture exam, there still exist a number of relevant study materials in print and online. If you do not have a textbook already through your school, check out the course textbooks recommended by the Klett AP Center. These books present all of the material for which you’ll be held accountable on the exam, and each is organized by theme and learning objective.
There is only one commercially produced study guide that claims to cater specifically to the AP German Language and Culture exam, but we do not recommend it. Rudman’s Questions and Answers on the Advanced Placement Examination in German (Advanced Placement Test) receives generally poor reviews and is criticized for its many typos. Reviewers also slam it for being irrelevant to the test itself. Our advice is to skip this study guide entirely and use other materials to focus your studying.
Many resources are available online, produced by AP teachers or former AP students themselves. Several sets of relevant study questions can be found on Quizlet. Another good resource is this course study guide, which includes an overview of the class and specific tips for each of the free response tasks. The course overview for an online class offered by Oklahoma State University provides a general outline of the class and a list of online resources that includes links to German language news websites and YouTube channels.
Finally, another relatively new and fun way to brush up on vocabulary and grammar is through the use of German language apps for your mobile device. Several free apps are available and receive good reviews. These include DuoLingo, FluentU, Babbel, and Wie Geht’s German, among others. Keep in mind that while these apps are free to download and use, paid versions are also available, so you will want to monitor the costs of in-app purchases.
Step 3: Practice Multiple Choice Questions
Although it’s difficult to practice multiple-choice questions for the AP German Language and Culture exam due to the lack of sample questions available, you can prepare for this section by ensuring that you understand what to expect on it first. The multiple-choice section of the AP German Language and Culture exam tests your interpretive communication skills in two separate ways.
First, you will read a variety of authentic print materials (e.g., journalistic and literary texts, announcements, advertisements, letters, charts, maps, and tables) and then respond to questions that ask for main ideas and supporting details. These questions may also ask you to identify the meaning of vocabulary words in context and the author’s point of view or the target audience. In addition, some questions will require you to show an understanding of the cultural information contained in the text.
The second portion of multiple choice questions consists of a variety of authentic audio materials, including interviews, podcasts, public service announcements, conversations, and brief presentations. This section is divided into two subsections. The first subsection includes audio texts that are paired with print materials. The second subsection consists solely of audio texts. As in the first section of printed multiple choice questions, you will respond to questions about main ideas and supporting details, and some questions will require you to show your understanding of cultural information.
You will have time to read a preview of each selection and skim the questions before listening to the audio on this portion of the exam. All audio texts will be played twice.
You should take notes during this part of the exam and you will be provided writing space for that purpose. Your notes will not be graded or included in the scoring of your exam in any way.
As you practice for this part of the exam, keep a running list of vocabulary, grammar, or key concepts that are still difficult for you. You can review them again before exam day. Review the practice multiple-choice questions in the course description to make sure that you’re on the right track.
Step 4: Practice Free Response Questions
The free response portion of the AP German Language and Culture exam will ask you to complete both written tasks and spoken responses. First, you will complete two written tasks. The first task will display your mastery of interpersonal writing and consists of reading and replying to an email message. You should allow about 15 minutes for this task. Make sure that you answer every question asked of you in the email, and ask some related questions in return.
The second written task tests your ability to create presentational written materials. This task will ask you to write a persuasive essay based on three sources, including an article, a table or graphic, and a related audio source (played twice). These sources will present different viewpoints on a topic and you will need to choose one side and present supporting evidence to back up your opinion. You will have 55 minutes to complete this task and you should use about 15 minutes to review materials, leaving about 40 minutes to write your actual presentation. Although you cannot replay the audio once it has played for the second time, you will have access to the print sources and any notes you may take on the audio during the entire 40-minute writing period.
The last part of your exam consists of spoken responses. First, you will display your interpersonal communication skills through a simulated conversation. You will be provided with a preview of the conversation, including an outline of each exchange, and you’ll be given one minute to read the preview. You will then participate in five exchanges during the conversation. You’ll have 20 seconds for each of your responses.
The final task will ask you to display your presentational speaking skills by delivering a short oral presentation on a cultural topic. You will be asked to compare cultural features of your own community with a given cultural feature from the German-speaking world. Your oral response should last approximately two minutes, and you will have four minutes to prepare it.
Unlike multiple-choice questions on the AP German Language and Culture exam, there is no shortage of sample free-response questions. You can find every free-response question dating back to the 2012 exam administration available on AP Central. While you’re reviewing the materials, be sure to also read through the scoring guidelines and examples of authentic student responses and scoring explanations. These are an invaluable resource for shaping your own responses.
Step 5: Take Another Practice Test
Continue to assess your knowledge as you study. Once you think you’re ready for the exam, take some more practice questions. Use these to identify areas that need further review. Repeat the steps above to incrementally increase your score.
Step 6: Exam Day Specifics
In 2017, the AP German Language and Culture exam will take place on Friday, May 5 at 8 AM.
For complete registration instructions, check out CollegeVine’s How to Register for AP Exams (Even If You Didn’t Take the Class).
For information about what to bring to the exam, see CollegeVine’s What Should I Bring to My AP Exam (And What Should I Definitely Leave at Home)?
If you feel like you still need more help or you are not sure that you can do it on your own, look no further. For personalized AP tutoring, check out the CollegeVine Academic Tutoring Program, where students who are intimately familiar with the exam can help you ace it too, just like they did.
For more about APs, check out these CollegeVine posts:
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.