Preparing Students for Advanced Placement English Language & Composition

AP 521.300 Barbara Murphy

This session will address the primary goals of the AP Language and Composition course, providing an introduction to and an in-depth examination of the curriculum and exam as both have been impacted by the changes newly instituted by The College Board. One full day will be devoted to the changes in the revamped AP English Language course framework and exam. The deconstruction of the exam and its requirements will lead participants to an examination of the goals of the AP English Language and Composition course, its objectives, and development - with particular attention paid to skills related to rhetorical analysis and argumentation. Participants will work with the 2020 essay questions: text + new rubrics + samples. Time will be allotted for individual rating of essays, plus small and large group discussions about the rating of samples. Also, participants will take a close look at the revised multiple-choice section of the exam. There will be numerous activities that demand active engagement in the process of choosing various types of texts (i.e., memoirs, speeches, documentaries, commercials, political cartoons, editorials, graphs, charts, biographies, film clips, social media, scientific writing) on which to base AP-level writing prompts and associated assignments as well as selecting close reading texts and creating related activities- including multiple choice, and discussion questions based on those readings. Working as individuals and in small groups, participants will construct classroom activities and processes to introduce, develop and reinforce AP-level skills, create essay prompts with rubrics, and construct objective questions based on prose texts. These activities will be presented and evaluated by the entire group. Participants also will be given the opportunity to closely examine sample syllabi and to develop and/or evaluate their own syllabi. There also will be ample time to share best practices. Participants can expect both class work and homework as part of their rigorous and productive experience.


Barbara Murphy

Barbara Murphy

Barbara Murphy taught AP English Language and other college-level courses at Jericho High School for over 24 years. She has been a reader of the AP Language and Composition exam since 1993 and is a consultant for AP English as well as the College Board’s Pre-AP programs. She is co-author of two AP English review texts: 5 Steps to a 5: AP Language, 5 Steps to a 5: AP Literature; plus Writing the AP English Essay and Writing an Outstanding College Application Essay, all published by McGraw-Hill. She has also published Putting It Together: Researching, Organizing, and Writing the Synthesis Essay. Her newest publications related to AP English are The Elite Student Editions of the 5 Steps to a 5: AP English Language and AP English Literature. Both are expanded texts with daily practice activities to aid students in developing their AP English skills. Currently, Barbara is researching and developing secondary English texts to aid the development of college-level skills of close reading, analytical writing, and critical thinking. After earning her B.A. from Duquesne University and M.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, Barbara did her doctoral coursework at Columbia University. She also holds professional certifications in still photography and motion-picture production and is one of the founding members of the women’s film company, Ishtar Films.