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Improving STEM Education Through the Redesign of the Advanced Placement Science Courses

Serena Magrogan, College Board; Andrew Elby, University of Maryland at College Park; Audra Ward, Marist School

In this session, presenters will provide background on the redesign of the Advanced Placement Science courses (principles of the redesign, policy implications for both K–12 and higher education, plans for working with teachers, etc.). The new courses reduce the rate of content coverage and emphasize deep, cross-cutting conceptual understanding and scientific inquiry. Hands-on activities will illustrate the kinds of inquiry and formative assessment that the new AP exams will reward.


About the Presenters:
Serena Magrogan, Director, AP Chemistry and AP Statistics Curriculum and Content Development, College Board
At the College Board, Serena Magrogan has worked on preserving and improving the quality and validity of the AP Program’s core deliverables, which are the course curriculum, the exam, and the professional development content. Magrogan has created these deliverables by leading committees of subject-matter experts (typically college professors and secondary school teachers), holding trainings on curriculum and assessment development protocols, and serving as an intermediary between academics and technical experts. Previously, Magrogan held several roles within the Fort Bend Independent School District, including working as an AP Biology and AP Chemistry teacher, secondary science instructional specialist, science department head, and professional development facilitator. At Northside Urban Pathways Charter School, she developed a four-year science curriculum plan and associated documents, and led and implemented the textbook and curriculum document adoption cycle for the high school science program. She has also served as the head of the Science Department at the Montgomery School and Fondren Middle School. Magrogan was awarded the 2007–2008 Hightower High School Teacher of the Year (Missouri City, Texas) and the 2007 MIT Leadership in Education Award. Magrogan received her BS in Biology and Chemistry from Centenary College of Louisiana. She received her MEd in Science Education from the University of Phoenix. Magrogan is currently working on her EdD in Educational Leadership/Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix.

Andrew Elby, Associate Professor, University of Maryland at College Park
Andrew Elby is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, Policy & Leadership at the University of Maryland at College Park. Elby’s current research explores science students’ and teachers’ epistemologies—their views about what counts as knowledge and knowing in various contexts—and the effects of those epistemologies on their teaching and learning. Elby has a long record of teaching, teacher professional development, and education research. He taught high school physics for several years in California and Virginia. He is currently co-chair of the AP Physics Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee. Elby earned his MA in Education and his PhD in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Audra Ward, Science Department Chair and Director of Diversity, Marist School
Audra Brown Ward is the science department chair and director of diversity at Marist School in Atlanta, where she has taught AP Biology and Anatomy & Physiology for eight years. Ward is a College Board consultant, and a reader and table leader for the AP Biology exam. She has led numerous AP Biology Summer Institutes and one-day workshops, as well as workshops at College Board Teaching and Learning Conferences and NABT (National Association of Biology Teachers) Conferences. She has contributed to various teacher guides and ancillaries for AP Biology textbooks. Recently, she has been involved in the development of the College Board's Materials for Professional Workshops and was a reviewer for the 2012 edition of the AP Biology Lab Manual for Students published by the College Board. Ward received the 2007 NABT Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for Georgia and was a 2009–2010 American Physiological Society Frontiers in Physiology Fellow. She received a 2009–2010 Dobbs Foundation Fellowship from the Center for Teaching at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, and was nominated for the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement in 2007 and 2008. Ward is involved with several faculty committees and has facilitated professional development workshops on innovative teaching strategies for new teachers at Marist School. She is a member of the National Science Teachers Association, the Georgia Science Teachers Association, and also serves the National Association of Biology Teachers as the OBTA director for Georgia. Ward received a BS in Biochemistry from Spelman College and an MS in Biochemistry from Georgia Tech.