July 7, 2011
WOOSTER, Ohio — High school teachers of Advanced Placement courses (AP) took on the role of students last month as participants in the 15th annual AP Summer Institute at The College of Wooster.
Established locally by Hayden Schilling, the Robert Critchfield Professor of English History at Wooster, the institute brings educators from Ohio and surrounding states to campus for four days of instruction and discussion about the most effective ways to help students excel in AP courses.
Jim Hartman, professor of mathematics and computer science at Wooster and the current director of the institute, said that the goal of the program is to “give high school teachers ideas about content, skills, and methods for AP courses.”
Recent funding cuts to education in Ohio may have affected enrollment in this summer’s AP Institute. Attendance, which has typically been in the 60s, fell to 45 this year, but despite this drop, the institute continues to receive high marks from the teachers, who often recommend it to their colleagues. “We seem to get a lot of word of mouth,” said Cynthia Bernardy, academic administrative coordinator at Wooster.
Wooster’s AP Institute differs from other schools in several ways — most notably its emphasis on individual attention. For instance, at Wooster, a high school teacher is paired with a college professor to lead a workshop in each of the three subject areas: U.S. history, English language and literature, and calculus. “What (the teachers) really appreciate is the content,” says Bernardy, rather than just how to teach to the test. English, the most popular workshop, has the highest rate of tests taken in Ohio at 8,156, followed by calculus with a total of 7,998 and U.S. history with 7,023, according to 2010 statistics.
In each workshop, teachers review old tests and are given a wealth of useful materials to take with them, including textbooks and information from the College Board. The workshops are discussion-based and address a wide range of issues. They also compare styles and techniques as well as share more specific materials and assignments to help students grasp particular concepts.
Those who attend are so impressed with the program that they sometimes return, according to Hartman, who added, “I have heard teachers say, ‘I really enjoyed this; it helped a lot.’”
- Story by Libby Fackler '13
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