Each year, motivated students take Advanced Placement tests after a year of rigorous studies, hoping to earn a score high enough to earn college credit before even starting freshman year.
Although students are glad to turn in their final exams and run off to enjoy their summers, teachers from around the country, like Resurrection Catholic School teacher Alice Lachaussee, actually apply for the chance to spend part of the summer grading some of those tests.
Lachaussee, who has taught AP history for five years at RCS, was told not to expect much in her first year of applying as an AP Reader with the College Board to grade the U.S. History exam.
She applied anyway, knowing that if she was chosen to grade the papers, she would return to her classroom that fall better equipped to prepare her students for the big exam. So when she was chosen to spend a week in Tampa, Fla, to grade papers, she was thrilled to attend the “camp for history nerds,” where she and her colleagues graded 2.4 million essays submitted by about 500,000 students.
Besides the relationships she’s made through teaching, “it was by far, the most enriching, rewarding experience I’ve had as a teacher, because I learned so much about how College Board views these exams, and I feel like it’s going to do so much more for my students now,” Lachaussee said.
Lachaussee logged 56 hours in one week grading an essay question regarding the economic impact of the U.S. Civil War.
Lachaussee is returning to the classroom equipped with what she learned from this summer’s experience. Along with the AP history classes, Lachaussee is also teaching one RCS’s dual enrollment history courses for juniors and seniors that will be offered for the first time at the school this year.
Dual enrollment courses allow high school students to receive both high school and college credits for taking the one course. The courses are also considered “value added” courses that can bump a student’s grade point average above 4.0, Lachaussee said.
“Kids have to really push themselves,” Lachaussee said. “They really have to do a lot to make themselves stand out.”
Lachaussee said she is happy for any opportunity to offer her students advantages in the classroom that will help them when applying for college.
“I feel like we have such great students here,” Lachaussee said. “I don’t get sad on Sundays because the weekend’s over. I’m not sad now that the school year’s starting and my summer is over, because I’m excited to see my kids.”