Let’s face it—the first year of teaching any new subject or grade level can be daunting, and not just for those who are new to education in general. When a teacher is covering a course or grade level for the first time, even the most seasoned educator needs time dedicated to learning their new subject’s content standards and curriculum requirements. They also need time to plan out lessons they’ve never taught before, anticipate student misconceptions they’ve never seen, and design new quick-checks and assessments to measure student progress.
As educational leaders, administrators strive to support teachers with any new roles and responsibilities, whether it is their first year teaching or their first year teaching an advanced course. And perhaps this is especially true with regards to new teachers of advanced courses, like AP® classes, because ensuring AP instruction mirrors college-readiness standards is no easy task.
The Right Tools Can Make or Break a New AP Teacher’s First Year
In-truth, there are some aspects of being a new AP teacher that school and district-level administrators simply can’t help educators with. The extensive time it takes to read an AP Course & Exam Description (CED) and attend an AP Summer Institute is something each AP teacher must do themselves.
However, administrators can ensure their teachers are provided with quality AP resources to support their first year of a college-readiness course. In fact, whether or not a new AP teacher has access to the right tools can determine whether they thrive or flounder in the AP classroom. And this will inevitably determine whether students will flourish or not, too.
According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), studies show that one of the most common reasons new teachers struggle is a lack of resources and guidance when it comes to lesson planning.1
Administrators may be tempted to lean solely on one of the free AP resources readily available online, but these tools can fall short of providing the type of support advanced educators need, especially if they are new to teaching AP courses.
How UWorld’s Learning Tools for AP Courses Can Help
UWorld’s Online Teaching & Learning Tools for AP Courses are a comprehensive set of online resources designed to support the teaching and learning experience in AP classes. These tools provide a platform for educators and students to access realistic practice questions, interactive polling, rigorous assignments, unit assessments, and detailed explanations, strengthening each student’s subject mastery and exam readiness. The following are five ways district-level and campus-level administrators can use UWorld to effectively create a support system for new AP teachers.
1) Pre-Built Assignments
In recent years, many district and school administrators have proactively supported their teachers who are either new to teaching or new to their subject area by providing them with model lesson plans developed by veteran teachers.3 Their hope is that by providing them with examples of strong lesson plans related to their new role, these teachers will not be forced to “sink or swim.”
This is a great start, but it still leaves new AP teachers short on time while they navigate planning lessons they’ve never taught before and while they take the time needed to get to know their AP course materials. As one high school history teacher and author put it, “One 45-minute lesson can easily take two hours to plan. This translates to 10-30 hours per week of planning, depending on how many courses you teach.”4
This is where UWorld’s Teaching & Learning Tools can really help. UWorld’s pre-built assignments are designed to support AP educators—especially those who are new to AP—by making lesson planning easier. These assignments are all aligned with the College Board’s® CEDs. The purpose of these pre-built assignments is to simplify the lesson preparation process, freeing up the time AP teachers need to familiarize themselves with their new course requirements.
Each assignment offers immediate feedback to students and insights to teachers about their students’ content mastery. Each AP course’s scope and sequence guides teachers through content delivery, which is especially helpful for those new to navigating the extensive AP curriculum within designated exam timelines. Educators can also modify pre-built assignments and push them out to individuals, groups, or entire classes in order to suit the unique needs of their students.
Additionally, district and school administrators have the autonomy to create custom assignments, fostering a culture of collaboration with their support system for new AP teachers. UWorld’s pre-built assignments save AP teachers time while providing effective learning experiences for AP students.
2) The Polling Feature
UWorld’s Polling feature is an interactive tool that fosters engagement and provides insight into student comprehension. This feature enables educators to seamlessly present questions to their class, allowing students to respond individually on their own devices. A swift analysis of class-wide responses offers teachers a valuable snapshot of student understanding, making it adaptable for various instructional scenarios.
Teachers can leverage UWorld’s polling feature in many ways. It’s a great tool for pre-assessment, helping educators gauge students’ prior knowledge before they teach a lesson. Polling also serves as an effective exit ticket, enabling teachers to quickly assess comprehension after a whole group lesson. Teachers can even use the polling feature in a flipped classroom setting as an introduction to a topic or as a prompt for class discussions.
The polling feature’s real-time monitoring of student submissions and access to response statistics can provide new AP teachers with valuable insights into their class’ overall grasp of the material. Upon answering a question, students receive the correct answer along with an explanation. They, too, can see their class’ response stats and compare their own responses with those of their peers. UWorld’s polling feature acts as a bridge between AP teachers and their students, providing engagement within a familiar context.
3) Unit Tests
Unit Assessments within UWorld’s Online Teaching & Learning Tools for AP Courses are an invaluable resource for new AP teachers seeking to check their students’ progress and preparedness for the AP exams. Many new AP teachers struggle with simply trying to make sure they can teach all of the required content for each unit within the allotted time before the AP exam. To know if their students are on-track, they need formative assessment data. Unit assessments can be difficult to design for new AP teachers.
UWorld’s unit assessments empower educators to identify learning gaps promptly and tailor their instruction accordingly. Through usage and progress tracking, teachers gain a holistic view of individual student performance and class-wide progress, allowing them to make informed decisions about their teaching strategies.
These assessments provide a simple way to measure content mastery among students. They offer a clear understanding of each student’s strengths and opportunities for growth. The ability to monitor usage patterns and track progress over time ensures teachers can effectively track their students’ progress. This simple, data-driven approach enables educators to make instructional adjustments quickly.
4) Explanatory Feedback Helps New AP Teachers, Too
Within UWorld’s Online Teaching & Learning Tools for AP Courses, the practice questions offer a unique advantage to teachers who are new to AP. These practice questions include in-depth answer explanations written by former AP teachers, readers, and table leaders, as well as vivid illustrations to help explain the concepts. These features don’t just help students with their understanding of complex AP concepts; they can also provide a support system for new AP teachers who are trying to become more familiar with their new course content and common misconceptions.
For new AP teachers, the explanatory feedback acts as a bridge to familiarity with their course’s learning standards. The comprehensive explanations dive deep into core concepts, explaining not just the correct answers, but also delving into why certain answer choices are incorrect. This type of new AP teacher support provides insights into common misconceptions that students might struggle with.
5) Administrative Guidance with Reporting
As per a study by Bucknell University, new teachers frequently face challenges due to what is referred to as “benign neglect” by administrators.5 New AP teachers often express a strong desire for valuable feedback from experienced colleagues and administrators, a need that is frequently unmet.
UWorld’s Online Teaching & Learning Tools for AP Courses come complete with a robust reporting feature, offering a data-driven compass to help district-level and campus-level administrators as they offer new AP teacher support and guidance. These intuitive reports delve into progress and usage across district, campus, classroom, and individual student levels. This enables administrators to both celebrate successes and pinpoint areas needing attention.
At the district level, reports are tailored to provide high-level insights, allowing for filtering based on individual campuses and subject areas. Administrators can then drill down into specific classrooms and individual students for a granular understanding of performance. They can oversee UWorld usage, student enrollments, assignment completions, and performance metrics for all campuses. With these reporting capabilities, administrators can observe a cohesive narrative of the AP program’s efficacy year after year, painting a clear picture of progress and areas for improvement.
Campus-level administrators also have visibility into their school’s usage and progress metrics across classes and subject areas. By assessing assignment and question completion trends per month, administrators gain insight into a new AP teacher’s class dynamics and student engagement. With this level of transparency, campus administrators are better informed about decision-making and can provide effective new AP teacher support and feedback.
Additional Ways to Support New AP Teachers
Of course, it is important for district and campus-level administrators to learn how to support new AP teachers apart from simply providing them with UWorld’s learning tools.
Administrators can send educators who are new to their district’s AP program to an AP Summer Institute, suggest various AP community groups online, and pair them up with an experienced AP mentor teacher. They can make time to frequently observe a new AP teacher’s class in order to offer support and provide guidance in a positive and constructive manner.
Another thing district and campus leaders can do is give new AP teachers the ability to try out new ideas and learn from their mistakes. Like students, this is how educators can grow and thrive in their new role.
New AP Teachers Can Bring a Lot to an AP Program
New AP teachers have a lot to offer any AP program, as they can provide an abundance of enthusiasm and fresh perspectives. These new teachers arrive with a reservoir of novel ideas and are typically receptive to classroom management tips, model lesson plans, and constructive feedback.
Recognizing this eagerness for support, district and school administrators can provide scaffolded assistance that aligns with the unique needs of new AP teachers, mirroring the way students benefit from structured guidance. By focusing on how to support new AP teachers with a comprehensive resource like UWorld, administrators have the opportunity to not only foster their professional development but also elevate the entire AP program to new heights of success.
Discover how to support new AP teachers with your school or district by implementing UWorld’s Online Teaching & Learning Tools for AP Courses.
- Goodwin, B. (2012, May 1). Research says / new teachers face three common challenges. ASCD. https://www.ascd.org/el/articles/new-teachers-face-three-common-challenges
- Kowal, C. (2022, June 13). 5 reasons why your best new teachers are leaving (and how to help them). BetterLesson. https://betterlesson.com/blog/new-teacher-retention
- Chenoweth, K. (2009). How it’s being done: Urgent lessons from unexpected schools. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED515268
- Medori, J. (2023, January 17). Save Time Lesson Planning, a step-by-step guide. Teach ’n Thrive. https://teachnthrive.com/teaching-ideas/management-organization/hw-to-create-a-lesson-plan-in-30-minutes/#:~:text=One%2045%20minute%20lesson%20can,parents%E2%80%A6%20well%2C%20you%20know.
- Fry, S. W. (2007). First-year teachers and induction support: Ups, downs, and in-betweens.The Qualitative Report, 12(2), 216–237. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol12/iss2/6/