More than 50 middle and high school teachers and other educators joined in a day of learning, language and camaraderie at The University of Texas-Pan American, during a day-long workshop on new literature in Spanish Advanced Placement curriculum.
"I hope to provide an overview of the national program and exam in literature and discuss and exchange some teaching strategies and ideas that will allow the teachers to be successful," Jimenez said.
The AP literature program in Spanish - which was based on five authors before this year - has expanded to include more than 30 authors. The change came when the National College Board and Educational Testing Service, which oversees AP programs nationwide, decided to align the high school class to a third-year college course in Spanish Literature.
Citing a more than 70 percent success rate in the most recent test, Jimenez said, "AP students are better prepared for college in every possible sense particularly in the development of intellectual and critical ability."
The workshop - sponsored by the UTPA Department of Modern Languages and Literatures; the Student Union; and Asociación Latina de estudiantes graduados representando el Espano or A.L.E.G.R.E., the Spanish graduate student association of the Department of Modern Languages - was designed to familiarize teachers with the new authors and their works, said Dr. Hector R. Romero, professor of Hispanic Studies at UTPA.
"Better prepared teachers will provide better prepared students to successfully take the AP exam," said Romero.
Approximately 80,000 students take the AP Spanish test in Texas. A student can now earn up to 12 university credits at UTPA for successfully completing the exam.
Irina Zuniga, a Spanish teacher at Sharyland Middle School who is currently completing her graduate studies, is president of A.L.E.G.R.E. and helped plan the workshop, said "We organized this workshop because there are not many workshops or professional development available to foreign language teachers."
Lupita Saenz, Spanish department chair at Edinburg High School, attended the workshop with nine colleagues.
"We motivate and work with our students through the whole year to take the AP test and to think about college life," Saenz said. "This workshop was hands-on and I am very pleased with the well organized booklet we received on AP Literature that we can use as a tool with the students."
More information is available at www.collegeboard.com/ap