Biology Professor Coleman participates in Advanced Placement Reading

Release Date: 6/27/2013

Dr. Sean Coleman, professor of biology at University of the Ozarks, was selected once again to participate in the College Board's annual Advanced Placement (AP) Program Reading.

Dr. Sean Coleman

Biology Professor Dr. Sean Coleman recently took part in the Advanced Placement Program Reading for biology in Kansas City. It's the seventh year he has participated in the program.

According to the program's website, "Each June, AP teachers and college faculty members from around the world gather in the United States to evaluate and score the free-response sections of the AP Exams. AP Readers are high school and college educators who represent many of the finest academic institutions in the world. The AP Reading is a unique forum in which an academic dialogue between educators is both fostered and encouraged."

Coleman, who has taught at Ozarks since 2000, has participated in the biology section of the AP program since 2007. This summer's week-long biology reading took place in Kansas City in early June.

"It involves reading answers to the long answer questions of the AP Biology Exam," Coleman said. "Before reading for the first time, I had very little knowledge of what the AP exam entailed. I was pretty surprised and impressed with the level of the questions on the exam. They are definitely of a level comparable to a college freshman level biology class."

Coleman said there are approximately 500 biology educators who take part in the program. They read exams from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. throughout the week. During the evenings they have professional development activities and have the opportunity to listen to well-known biology speakers.

"It can be pretty grueling during the day," Coleman said. "However, it is great to see all the excellent and sometimes humorous answers that the students write. I believe the AP program really allows for college level preparation and that is due to the dedicated teachers in high school that teach those AP courses. From speaking to many of the college professors and high school teachers that read at the AP Reading they all come away impressed by the level of faculty in the program and with new ideas to implement in their classes whether it is an AP class or college freshman biology class."

"The Reading draws upon the talents of some of the finest teachers and professors that the world has to offer," said Trevor Packer, senior vice president for AP and College Readiness at the College Board. "It fosters professionalism, allows for the exchange of ideas, and strengthens the commitment to students and to teaching. We are very grateful for the contributions of talented educators like Professor Coleman."

The AP program enables willing and academically prepared students to pursue college-level studies – with the opportunity to earn college credit, advanced placement or both – while still in high school. Through AP courses in 34 subjects, each culminating in a rigorous exam, students learn to think critically, construct solid arguments, and see many sides of an issue – skills that prepare them for college and beyond. Research indicates that students who score a 3 or higher on an AP Exam typically experience greater academic success in college and are more likely to earn a college degree than non-AP students.

In 2012, more than 11,000 AP Readers evaluated more than 3.7 million AP Exams.