Seven Hopkins High School educators are among a prestigious crowd that has the honor of calling themselves Advanced Placement (AP) exam readers. This title is given by the National College Board and is an achievement that requires time and dedication to AP studies.
Recently, AP teachers John Sammler, Maggie Temple, Jennifer Heimlich, Rick Rexroth, Anne Sateren Burow, Felicia Homberger, and Jeff Kocur ventured to all corners of the country to evaluate and score the free-response sections of AP exams. Some went to Orlando, some went to Salt Lake City, among other cities, while some read from home.
But getting the green light to be a reader is no easy feat. First, educators must be an AP teacher for at least three years before they can apply for accreditation with the National College Board, a nonprofit organization that ensures students are successful in post-secondary ventures. Teachers must also “show evidence of our success and a teacher and expertise in our field,” Sammler said. And the field is competitive, so to receive an invitation to become a reader is a high honor.
Hopkins AP teachers are among the brightest in their field, and their involvement with both the AP program and the National College Board ensures curriculum stays rigorous and exciting. This is evident in the growing number of students who challenge themselves with AP courses each year. In the 2015-16 school year, 161 students received AP scholar honors and 10 students were named AP National Scholars.
“These teachers are reading with college professors in the same field,” Sammler said. “So this is a chance to communicate with college faculty about how to teach these topics and get some insight on what college faculty are looking for from students in terms of skills.”
Being a reader during the AP exams is also an opportunity for educators to share their own knowledge and gain some new insight during professional development seminars. While in New York, Temple said the National College Board hosted speakers and discussion forums during the evening.
“We also attended a panel discussion on how each of the AP exam essays were scored,” she said. “This is crucial information as it helps the AP teacher use best practices when teaching students. Our school community definitely benefits from having teachers attend the readings each summer.”