Many campuses are familiar with the College Board®’s AP Classroom product, which provides free resources to AP teachers and their students. AP Classroom is a great tool, and it is even better when used in conjunction with an additional resource such as UWorld’s Learning Tools for AP Courses.
AP Classroom provides students with practice questions and videos to support concepts. And while they do offer answer explanations for some of their practice questions, they don’t offer explanatory feedback for all of them, and the feedback that is provided is fairly minimal.
Like AP Classroom, UWorld provides authentic practice, but the explanations that are provided for every single question and every answer choice is what makes it so powerful. The detailed feedback helps students develop their critical thinking skills and metacognition skills as it deepens understanding and improves retention.
With that said, how can schools and districts justify the cost of purchasing an additional resource?
- Teachers often need more material to teach or reinforce concepts. Adding more variety is always a plus for students and teachers. For example, there are a limited number of questions addressing each objective in the new AP Language Writing section. UWorld offers more items for students to practice these new skills, while providing a more engaging way to explain them. Using these together is a win-win!
- The explanations provided for some questions in AP Classroom sometimes seem written more for the teacher than the students. UWorld’s explanations offer embedded support, are more easily understood by students, and they are provided for every question
- Students are able to find AP Classroom content online with a simple Google search making it very difficult for teachers to use the content for assessments and reliable data.
- AP Classroom does not offer any campus or district level reporting. UWorld has robust data dashboards at all levels so leaders can monitor usage and performance.
“The premise of AP Classroom—having students work through the course with an interactive learning tool—is solid,” said Kristina McCalip, AP Content Specialist, UWorld. “However, using a learning platform with high levels of support for students and engaging tools for instruction is a smart investment.”
Here are the Top 5 reasons why instructors should consider adding UWorld’s Learning Tools for AP Courses to their toolkit to help students do well in the course as well as the exam:
1. Instructional support
- UWorld’s explanations allow students to work with guided support from the program which gives them detailed explanations they can understand on their own. This allows students to practice independently and remain engaged because they are learning, not just getting answers.
- Teachers can turn questions into presentations for instruction.
- Teachers can create and share assignments with other teachers in their school or district.
2. Unit tests
- Progress Checks in AP Classroom have begun to circulate among students online. Because UWorld’s Unit Tests are more secure, they provide a more reliable picture of students’ true progress.
- UWorld’s Unit Tests can be used in conjunction with AP Classroom Progress Checks to review unit objectives, deepen learning, or reassess skills after students have had more instruction or practice.
3. Ease of use
- UWorld’s optional timing feature submits students’ responses automatically after time has expired so students get a better feel for answering within a time limit. Teachers can allow students more time if needed.
- The Free Response Questions offer annotation features to help students formulate their responses and analyze the sample responses.
- Grading FRQs is made easier by allowing teachers to annotate students’ responses with a comment box that is coded to the rubric. Teachers can also make global comments.
4. Student accessibility and engagement
- In AP Classroom, only the newer material has full explanations provided for answers. All UWorld questions have full explanations, so students working on their own don’t have to ask about the rationale for an answer.
- UWorld’s explanations don’t just state why an answer is right or wrong—they walk students through the process of getting that answer, including hints and test-taking tips that provide valuable insights into the content and develop test awareness.
- UWorld’s explanations often use color coding (e.g., color coding the variables in a math problem) and offer vibrant illustrations to make content clear and memorable.
- Vocabulary acquisition is supported through a roll-over feature in reading passages. Also, all explanations provide definitions of key terms from the questions.
- Students can add vocabulary, key terms, and images to a personalized flashcard deck. Soon, some courses will offer pre-loaded decks for key course terminology.
- Students can choose to view how other students answered a question to gauge the difficulty of the question or learn from close distractors.
- After reviewing an explanation, students can flag that item and ask for further support from the teacher.
5. Teacher data
- UWorld’s menu of data reports allow for more efficient, data-driven decision making. Teachers can produce the following reports: Class top 3 and bottom 3 topics; student top 3, bottom 3 topics; percentage correct, incorrect and omitted on topics and questions in an assignment; exact scores for each student on each assignment; performance graphs on each assignment; and amount of time spent on each question and topic.
Although UWorld makes difficult material easy to understand, students will still be challenged. “What I like about UWorld’s AP Product is the level of questions are on par with College Board’s and provide rigorous AP prep,” said Joshua Hadley, math teacher at Sam Houston High School in Arlington, Texas. “It really does help the students to prepare better for the exam. I love the explanations for the correct and incorrect responses with the ability for them to create flashcards to study later. I have used it for tests, retakes, warm-up practice, and review.”
At UWorld, we are committed to helping educators do what they do best: make a difference in the lives of their students by helping each student reach their full potential.
For districts, schools, and educators looking to enhance AP classes, save time, and boost student success, UWorld offers an innovative AP resource that helps students master the concepts needed for AP course and exam success. Discover how we can help your AP program today.