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Grading AP Exams in Louisville

08/23/2019

Norma Marsh, who teaches AP U.S. History at Runnels, joined more than 1,500 high school teachers and college professors from across the nation in Louisville, KY this summer to grade AP U.S. History exams. This is her fifth year as a "reader" for the College Board. 
 
"Runnels High School has a tremendously successful AP program, with nearly 90% of students earning college credit for courses taken," said Ms. Marsh, who also serves as the Jr./Sr. High English and Social Studies Department Head.
 
As an AP reader, she spent eight intense days in Lexington this summer scoring a Document-Based Question (DBQ) about the Progressive Movement. "The DBQ requires students to analyze and use primary sources in formulating an answer to a complex writing prompt," she explained. To grade the essays, Ms. Marsh worked with a group of eight teachers and a "table leader" -- usually a college professor or an AP reader with at least 15 years of AP grading experience under their belts.
 
“We spend a day going over the question and the scoring guidelines before we begin grading,” she said. "Every teacher learns the nuances of each question inside and out. The process ensures that each and every student has a fair reading. We approach scoring each essay with the idea that we will maintain the same quality of reading on the 300th or 600th essay that we did on the first." This year, Ms. Marsh scored 600 essays!
 
She feels that her experience as an AP reader has made her a more effective teacher and department head. "I can better understand how students can write their essays to receive the highest points possible." Upon returning to school, she teaches that skill to her students and passes it on to other AP teachers in her departments.