Given the speed with which scientific discoveries and research continuously expand scientific knowledge, many educators are faced with the challenge of balancing breadth of content coverage with depth of understanding.
The revised AP® Biology course addresses this challenge by shifting from a traditional “content coverage” model of instruction to one that focuses on enduring, conceptual understandings and the content that supports them. This approach will enable students to spend less time on factual recall and more time on inquiry-based learning of essential concepts, and will help them develop the reasoning skills necessary to engage in the science practices used throughout their study of AP Biology.
To foster this deeper level of learning, the breadth of content coverage in AP Biology is defined in a way that distinguishes content essential to support the enduring understandings from the many examples or applications that can overburden the course. Illustrative examples are provided that offer teachers a variety of optional instructional contexts to help their students achieve deeper understanding. Additionally, content that is outside the scope of the course and exam is also identified.
Students who take an AP Biology course designed using this curriculum framework as its foundation will also develop advanced inquiry and reasoning skills, such as designing a plan for collecting data, analyzing data, applying mathematical routines, and connecting concepts in and across domains. The result will be readiness for the study of advanced topics in subsequent college courses — a goal of every AP course.
The revised AP Biology course is equivalent to a two-semester college introductory biology course and has been endorsed enthusiastically by higher education officials.