Future curriculum changes encourage foundational learning


Chemistry teacher Hadan Kauffman explains how to balance chemical equations.

Students enter the chemistry classroom, hands filled with note packets and test prep books in a last minute flurry before a test. They repeat to themselves the types of decomposition reactions. But future students may not have the same problem.

Teachers are planning to change the AP chemistry curriculum next year because of upcoming changes in the exam. This is a part of College Board’s changes to its science tests, such as the new AP Biology exam effective this school year.

The College Board is planning to make the chemistry exam more conceptual and focused on problem solving. This includes fewer solubility guidelines to memorize and a bigger focus on application. These changes have been made to help close the achievement gap so the score isn’t just based on the names of polyatomic ions, but a strong foundation in chemistry.

“I feel like these changes are going in the right direction because real chemistry isn’t about memorizing solubility guidelines and if you know it or not,  but more of the application of information.” sophomore Carolyn Chheath said.

The chemistry teachers have been meeting since last year to decide how they are going to realign their curriculum. Whether changes in the classroom will be as drastic as the test is unlikely.

“We can’t lower our standards when we are preparing students for competitive colleges and senior tech labs,” chemistry teacher Hadan Kauffman said. “We expect you to know more than the minimum expectations.”