Last week, The College Board revealed its modified 2020 exam structure, in which learners will have 45 minutes to complete two free response questions (FRQs). The full webinar of Thursday’s announcement is available on the College Board website, as are numerous resources supplied directly by College Board, including online AP® class sessions on YouTube. Regardless of personal feelings on if this format provides equitable opportunities for all learners to succeed, we wanted to provide resources that learners using Triángulo APreciado 6.a edición could use to prepare.
In their reasoning for selecting FRQs 3 and 4 for this year’s mini AP® language exam, the College Board stated that these questions “have the highest correlation to the full exam score and college success”. It goes without saying that these questions are also two of the most indicative of how a learner could communicate in the target language in real life. However, these sections of the exam are tough for learners, and we know FRQ3 is generally the most feared part of the AP® exam. Gulp!
The authos of Triángulo APreciado 6.a edición understood that FRQ3 and FRQ4 have historically presented challenges for all learners, including test-taking students who are accustomed to passing other subjects through memorization alone. To succeed in a free-response question, a learner must feel confident enough to engage in spontaneous use of language. In cultural comparison free response questions, they must also be comfortable enough to remain mindful, allowing them fuller access to the data their brain stored throughout the course. How do you achieve this free response state-of-mind for a learner? Practice.
If you’ve used Triángulo APreciado 6.a edición as a primary resource for every lesson and learners have completed their Can-Do statement-aligned activities in each Conexion, congratulations! You have good news to share with your learners. There is nothing coming in the shortened 45 minute AP® exam that they have not experienced throughout their year with you. In their preparation for the exam, they could revisit these tasks in their portfolio and replay them, reattempt them and build on feedback you’ve provided, and review the scripts and structures of the tasks until they could practically administer a mini AP® exam themselves.
If you are not the magical Triángulo Apreciado unicorn described above, rest assured that you are part of the majority. We’re here for you, and have prepared these “prep steps” that you can take and modify depending on where you and your learners are at.
1.To develop the learning habits of risk-taking and making cultural connections in the target language, Triángulo APreciado includes multiple FRQ3 and FRQ4 tasks in every conexion of the text. We’ve highlighted our Can-Do Statement guide to point out to you where these practice opportunities can be found.
Additional practice in simulated conversations are provided in the task called “Atando cabos sueltos” at the close of each conexion. For additional practice with cultural comparisons, learners could explore interpersonal cultural exercises identified in the Can-Do Statement Guide by these symbols:
An FRQ3 and FRQ4 is included in both the midterm and final exam materials, however there is plenty of opportunity for practice in the prior examples if you need to save these for your course’s final exam.
Here is where you will find these practice opportunities on the Learning Site:
Recursos>Solo Para Profesores> Midterm and Final exam materials > Examen Parcial >Seccion 2> Conversación simulada
Recursos>Solo Para Profesores> Midterm and Final exam materials > Examen Parcial >Seccion 2> Comparacion cultural (first option of the 2)
Recursos>Solo Para Profesores> Midterm and Final exam materials > Practice AP® Exam>Seccion 2> Task 3: Conversation
Recursos>Solo Para Profesores> Midterm and Final exam materials > Practice AP® Exam>Seccion 2> Task 4: Cultural Comparison
2. If your students are nervous and/or are unfamiliar with the open response task format, prioritize getting learners confident in the task-type, versus confident in their knowledge and memorization of cultural facts. Ease learners into these tasks with scaffolding strategies including:
- Providing the script for learners, giving them more time than the AP® will to review the instructions and material. Give them time to reread, ask questions, and revisit. Scripts for FQ3 and FQ4 are provided on page 326 of the appendix in both student and teacher editions. Audio scripts of FRQ tasks are in Explorer, Recursos>Solo para profesores> Audio scripts and transcripts> Capitulo # > Supplementary scripts.
- Play recordings of the exercises, following along with the script. Stop and replay sections of the exercise. Prompts based on technology are typically the easiest for learners, which is why Triángulo Apreciado Unit 1 focuses on El Smartphone—start there.
- Encourage learners to try multiple responses. Set the number of attempts for these activities at a high number so that learners have “unlimited” opportunities to try, and try again, until they feel confident enough about a recorded exercise to submit it for feedback.
3. Reinforce the test-stress busters that you’ve been teaching throughout the year. Communicate with them about the stress relieving tactics they’ve applied throughout their high school career. How have they stayed present, fought off anxiety, or remained optimistic? When their body or brain wanted to freeze or give up during an extracurricular, how did they override that instinct, and perform? These are mindfulness skills that can counter the pressure of a free response question.
Nationwide, the graduating class of 2020 has had to exhibit more adaptability and flexibility than any other grade of learners. The abridged exam represents yet another change—for you and for them. As we at Wayside rush to provide additional support to teachers during this transition, we’ve been motivated to do so because of the examples of adaptability set by educators and learners. Thank you and your students for your insights and questions thus far. We’ll be rooting for you in May.