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AP US History for a 9th grader?


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#1 swimmermom3

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 03:28 PM

My ds's counselor at his new high school just handing me the summer reading packet for AP US History. He will be a freshman in the fall and will be entering the public school system for the first time in five years. His state test scores in reading (yes, ironic, isn't it?) place him out of the usual 9th grade Global Studies/Global Literature course. He would finalize his eligibility with a writing test in August.

Any thoughts on the wisdom of such a move or how it would be perceived by a prospective college?

#2 TiaTia

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 10:13 PM

No clue on how college admissions people view ninth graders taking this exam, but you can see grade breakdowns in a report at College Board. I'll post link when I find it. Ninth graders are definitely in the minority, but not unheard of.

Many say the AP US History (APUSH) exam is one of the hardest. It requires boatloads of reading, good study skills for long-term retention of content, analytical thinking, experience with a variety of primary sources, and excellent skills in expository essay writing. For young teenagers who've had an un-schooly experience, the adjustment to the required workload can be rough.

Having said all that, I just finished instructing three bright-and-lovely homeschooled ninth-graders who haven't got their APUSH scores yet -- crossing our fingers! They all agree that the course was a challenging (harsh?) introduction to high school, but each did very well. Their consensus is that if I teach the course again in the fall, I oughta pick on tenth graders and above, and leave ninth graders to enjoy another year of innocent bliss. Heh. Let's see how those scores come out . . . .;)

Since the high school is giving you summer reading for the course, they might have a detailed syllabus, too. It might provide enough detail for you and DS to make an informed judgment.

It seems that many high schools start off with AP World History, rather than APUSH. In my county, they often reserve the latter for 11th graders. Slightly different DBQ rubric, but I'm not familiar enough to say exactly why World is considered an easier introduction to AP, compared to US.

Anyone? :bigear:

#3 Sebastian (a lady)

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 06:53 AM

No clue on how college admissions people view ninth graders taking this exam, but you can see grade breakdowns in a report at College Board. I'll post link when I find it. Ninth graders are definitely in the minority, but not unheard of.

Many say the AP US History (APUSH) exam is one of the hardest. It requires boatloads of reading, good study skills for long-term retention of content, analytical thinking, experience with a variety of primary sources, and excellent skills in expository essay writing. For young teenagers who've had an un-schooly experience, the adjustment to the required workload can be rough.

Having said all that, I just finished instructing three bright-and-lovely homeschooled ninth-graders who haven't got their APUSH scores yet -- crossing our fingers! They all agree that the course was a challenging (harsh?) introduction to high school, but each did very well. Their consensus is that if I teach the course again in the fall, I oughta pick on tenth graders and above, and leave ninth graders to enjoy another year of innocent bliss. Heh. Let's see how those scores come out . . . .;)

Since the high school is giving you summer reading for the course, they might have a detailed syllabus, too. It might provide enough detail for you and DS to make an informed judgment.

It seems that many high schools start off with AP World History, rather than APUSH. In my county, they often reserve the latter for 11th graders. Slightly different DBQ rubric, but I'm not familiar enough to say exactly why World is considered an easier introduction to AP, compared to US.

Anyone? :bigear:


Having scanned through some of the questions in prep books for World and US, I came away with the impression that World asked for a familiarity with a wide array of time periods and cultures, while US expected a deeper specific familiarity because it was concentrated on one culture and a more limited time period.

I think it's possible for some younger students to do well with US. But I also hear from my friends that it's very demanding on 11th graders (also in NOVA here). One concern I had with tackling the test with younger students was getting their essays up on a level that was competitive.

(I do have to confess that my opinion is probably colored by having lived outside the continental US for the last 7 years. We haven't spent the younger grades soaking up US culture and historical bits with every weekend outing. So US history is proving a lot tougher for us than I would wish. [We're doing modern with a summer emphasis on the Civil War.])

#4 Kareni

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:37 PM

My daughter took AP US History as a 10th grader. As others have mentioned, it's an intense AP in terms of the sheer amount of reading. I think she'd have been able to handle it in ninth grade, but I'm only guessing. I was glad that she didn't take it in 11th grade when she had a lot of other challenging classes on her plate (several community college classes plus AP Latin and AP Comparative Politics and Government -- the latter incidentally was far less demanding in terms of reading).

Any thoughts on the wisdom of such a move or how it would be perceived by a prospective college?


I think prospective colleges would be delighted if your son received a good grade in the class and a good test score. How capable do you think your son is of doing a demanding class? What are his feelings? Does he thrive on challenge? or would he rather have a kinder, gentler introduction to high school?

Regards,
Kareni

#5 TiaTia

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 11:07 PM

Here's the link to AP score analysis (at this writing, not including 2012 exams yet):

http://professionals...esearch/ap/data

In 2011, fewer than three-tenths of ONE percent of students taking the AP US History exam were ninth graders. I know that a great majority are attending schools, and that most schools limit AP class participation by grade level (and GPA and recommendations), but that still surprised me. I'd love to see the breakdown for homeschoolers -- and our scores, too.

This May, I finished teaching APUSH to a trio of homeschooled ninth-graders. Two scored fives; the third is calmly waiting to hear, with more patience than her instructor. :)

All three were fine students and a delight to work with. Compared broadly to older students, though, it could be that these ninth graders had greater challenges in three areas. First, they had less familiarity with idioms, expressions and terms than older students would. (That makes a difference in reading primary sources and following lectures targeted at a more experienced audience.) Second, writing from an analytical rather than descriptive point of view was sometimes difficult. (On the other hand, I hear that's true for many older students, too!) Third, these particular students were switching from more-or-less unschooling styles to establishing high school routines with LOTS of weekly work.

But they did great!

I can say for my family that the course was a good transition to the rigor needed for high school. DD looks forward to AP Art History and AP World History this fall. Now that she's done one, she has a clear idea of what this involves.

I think Kareni's point about balancing workload is critical. I'm glad we started with just one AP in ninth grade. Plenty for us!

Tia

#6 swimmermom3

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 11:28 PM

My daughter took AP US History as a 10th grader. As others have mentioned, it's an intense AP in terms of the sheer amount of reading. I think she'd have been able to handle it in ninth grade, but I'm only guessing. I was glad that she didn't take it in 11th grade when she had a lot of other challenging classes on her plate (several community college classes plus AP Latin and AP Comparative Politics and Government -- the latter incidentally was far less demanding in terms of reading).



I think prospective colleges would be delighted if your son received a good grade in the class and a good test score. How capable do you think your son is of doing a demanding class? What are his feelings? Does he thrive on challenge? or would he rather have a kinder, gentler introduction to high school?

Regards,
Kareni


Kareni, you raise excellent questions. My assessment is that he is able to comprehend the reading and probably the analysis, but the quantity of reading may be problematic for his speed. He knows how to structure a response essay and support his thesis, but at the level required for a 5? Hmmm. Probably not. I am still digesting results from two separate tests that rate his reading skills far higher than I would. He is a skilled test taker and I think that plays into it.

Here's the link to AP score analysis (at this writing, not including 2012 exams yet):

http://professionals...esearch/ap/data

In 2011, fewer than three-tenths of ONE percent of students taking the AP US History exam were ninth graders. I know that a great majority are attending schools, and that most schools limit AP class participation by grade level (and GPA and recommendations), but that still surprised me. I'd love to see the breakdown for homeschoolers -- and our scores, too.

This May, I finished teaching APUSH to a trio of homeschooled ninth-graders. Two scored fives; the third is calmly waiting to hear, with more patience than her instructor. :)

All three were fine students and a delight to work with. Compared broadly to older students, though, it could be that these ninth graders had greater challenges in three areas. First, they had less familiarity with idioms, expressions and terms than older students would. (That makes a difference in reading primary sources and following lectures targeted at a more experienced audience.) Second, writing from an analytical rather than descriptive point of view was sometimes difficult. (On the other hand, I hear that's true for many older students, too!) Third, these particular students were switching from more-or-less unschooling styles to establishing high school routines with LOTS of weekly work.

But they did great!

I can say for my family that the course was a good transition to the rigor needed for high school. DD looks forward to AP Art History and AP World History this fall. Now that she's done one, she has a clear idea of what this involves.

I think Kareni's point about balancing workload is critical. I'm glad we started with just one AP in ninth grade. Plenty for us!

Tia


This is most helpful. Thanks, Tia.

I think I am going to wait until his sophomore year. There are just too many wild cards out on the table right now.


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