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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO TAKE ACTION FOR AP ITALIAN

 
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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO TAKE ACTION FOR AP ITALIAN - 5/15/2008 10:14:15 AM   
Fabiano

 

Posts: 23
Joined: 11/19/2007
Status: offline
To:       All Educators of Italian
 
From:  AP Italian Development Committee
 
RE:       The Development Committee, The AP Italian Language and Culture Course and Exam, Comparability Studies, Grade Setting, College Acceptance, AP Italian at a National Level, What You Can Do
 
 
We write to you first as teachers of Italian and second as members of the AP Italian Development Committee.  Our hope is to respond to some of the issues that have arisen since the announcement that AP Italian may come to an end, and to clarify some misconceptions about the AP Italian Language and Culture Course and Exam.
 
We have every reason to believe that we can build and sustain the AP Italian program which is, admittedly, in an early stage.   We ask your support in going forward.  You can best demonstrate your support by continuing your work with students and acting affirmatively so that AP Italian will continue well beyond 2009. 
 
Now allow us to address matters related to the exam.
 
The Development Committee
 
The Development Committee is made up of an equal balance of high school and college educators representing diverse regions of the United States from coast to coast, and a combination of native and non-native speakers.  This has been the case since the inception of the AP Italian Task Force in 2003, which convened during the academic year 2003-2004. It was represented by six high school and six college/university members.  The first Development Committee was appointed in 2004-2005 with three high school and three college members.   In addition, a representative of the College Board sits on the Development Committee. Likewise, the Chief Reader is an ex-officio member. The membership on the DC regularly rotates.
 
The AP Italian Language and Culture Course and Exam
 
AP courses in all fields represent the equivalent in college work.  The level tested depends upon the definition provided by the Task Force.  In the case of Italian, an AP course should represent 4th semester college work (Intermediate High as articulated by ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines).  A student who passes the AP Exam with a 5 should be ready to take a third year, upper division content course.  Definitions vary for different courses.  French, German, and Spanish are more stringent, and require 5th and 6th semester competencies, while the new Chinese course has the same requirements as Italian. 
 
AP courses by their very nature are difficult, challenging, and prestigious.  AP courses are designed for students who are prepared for advanced work in high school.  These courses serve as a bridge to college.   The AP exam verifies that students are prepared to perform in higher level college courses. 
 
Comparability Studies
 
ETS regularly conducts comparability studies to determine whether or not college students can pass the AP Italian exam.  Portions of the exam are administered at a variety of higher education institutions so that a fair sample of students is represented.  These exams are equally challenging for college students.  The results of these studies verify that the AP Italian Exam does represent the level it claims to establish.
 
The College Board website states:  “The AP Program periodically conducts college grade comparability studies in all AP subjects. These studies compare the performance of AP students with that of college students in the courses for which successful AP students will receive credit. In general, the AP composite score cut-points are set so that the lowest composite score for an AP grade of 5 is equivalent to the average score for college students earning grades of A. Similarly, the lowest composite scores for AP grades of 4, 3, and 2 are equivalent to the average scores for students with college grades of B, C, and D, respectively.
 
Students who earn AP Exam grades of 3 or above are generally considered to be qualified to receive college credit and/or placement into advanced courses due to the fact that their AP Exam grades are equivalent to a college course grade of "middle C" or above. However, the awarding of credit and placement is determined by each college or university and students should check with the institution to verify its AP credit and placement policies. Students can find this information by using the AP Credit Policy search.” 
 
AP Italian Grade distributions 2007: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/exam/exam_questions/185563.html
 
AP Italian Grade distributions 2006: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/members/exam/exam_questions/151249.html
 
AP Grade setting process: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/exgrd_set.html
 
 
Grade Setting
 
The AP Italian exam has questions ranging from easy to difficult so that all students’ abilities are tested.  Students may have found parts of the exam to be very difficult, but the student who earns a 3 has still mastered the equivalent of first year college Italian.  As students and teachers become more familiar with the content and exam format, and as teachers are able to create a four-year plan for AP Italian, we expect our scores to rise.   
 
 
College Acceptance
 
Statistically, in part because of the results of the comparability studies, universities have widely accepted AP Italian and awarded college credit.  Although policy varies from institution to institution, most universities recognize the importance of AP examinations and place students accordingly.   A number of colleges and universities across the United States received 15 or more grade reports for AP Italian and the feedback from many of these institutions has been positive.  A list of acceptance of AP credit is available at AP Central:  http://collegesearch.collegeboard.com/apcreditpolicy/index.jsp.
 
 
AP Italian at a National Level
 
As we know, AP Courses and Exams drive college admissions.  One of the benefits of having an AP Italian course is the inherent status that it achieves.  Another is that it promotes the expansion of Italian programs at all levels of instruction.  Ultimately, however, the real benefits are that we examine Italian instruction throughout the United States, make efforts to improve our own teaching and enrich our own courses, and strive to have our courses reflect the National Standards.  It also promotes the study of Italian language at all levels, so that ultimately all schools profit from it, from elementary to college levels.  Because Italian just recently broke the ranks of being a less commonly taught language, the resources and attention necessary to developing Italian programs had not been previously available.   Since the inception of AP Italian, we have enjoyed both financial support and professional development opportunities paid for by both the College Board and the Italian government.  These opportunities have helped us all improve our approach to teaching.
 
What You Can Do
 
It was your enthusiasm initially that made the AP Italian program possible.  The continuation of AP Italian is fundamental.  We ask you to remember that AP Italian is not dead.  The College Board has a plan in place to convert the exam to a format which is more economically feasible to correct the exams. However, since the College Board has already exceeded its budget for AP Italian by 400%, it is unable to make this investment without a large amount of external funding.  There are many organizations working diligently, as we write this communication, to secure the funding necessary to keep AP Italian going.  We ask you not to lose hope, to continue your fine work, to encourage others to do the same, and to communicate to administrators that the Italian and Italian American communities are doing everything in their power to make sure that AP Italian will continue for many years to come.   Enrollments for Italian are on the increase since 2002 as indicated by the most recent MLA Enrollment Survey data:  (http://www.mla.org/pdf/release11207_ma_feb_update.pdf; http://www.mla.org/pdf/06enrollmentsurvey_final.pdf).
 
 
 
 
 
These enrollments point in favor of our programs growing and in favor of increased numbers of students taking the AP Italian exam.  We ask you to keep the faith, and we are doing the same.
 
Sincerely,
 
Patricia Di Silvio
Irene Marchegiani (former member)
Emilio Mazzola
Paola Morgavi
Frank Nuessel
Carmela Pesca
Teresa Picarazzi
Paola Scazzoli
Elissa Tognozzi
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