To my AP Biology students,
The scores are out and they are not what we wanted. The results are surprising and disappointing. The numbers on this report do not represent the competency I led you to believe you had developed this year. We have stumbled, together; we must now become better from this struggle.
I made some difficult choices this year in the pursuit of including more students in our course. From the outset I told you it would be different from past years, and it was. There is an answer I know and it is the application of tremendous effort and rapid coverage. That work has earned previous students success on exams past, but those methods left too many excluded from growth or discouraged from the larger pursuit of science. I am sad, but I am not sorry.
You worked hard all year long. Each one of you grew as a scientist and as a learner. You explored topics that interested you and made plans for the future. You considered yourself in a new light as you saw what the future might hold. Our course was not one in which you simply survived, and in May each of you left with justified assurance of what you had learned and awareness of what you had not. Your confidence, knowledge and growth is my greatest victory this year. I am proud, but I am not satisfied.
This is a moment when I am reminded my choices matter. My professional freedom has an impact on your life. These scores do not define you as scientists, but they do have consequence. We could have done better. It is my fault. I could have made different choices. I long for a control class to run with my students to know if I made good or bad choices. I must smile at the irony of teaching a natural science through social science. I am confused, but I am resolute.
I still believe in practice and supporting re-consolidation with the same primacy as learning. I will struggle in the coming months to incorporate this new data into my understanding of our class’ achievement. I refuse to revert to my previous model because I believe in you and what you’ve done more than test scores. Our time together has been my greatest work as a teacher. But so will next year’s. Remain invested. Believe in the growth you’ve seen and felt.
We need revision, but we are not finished.