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Advanced Placement educators back at school April 11
By Gail Fagan
381-2741
Posted: 04/15/2003
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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.


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Participating in a workshop for Advanced Placement Spanish educators at The University of Texas-Pan American on April 11 were, from left to right: Dr. Reynaldo Jimenez, professor of languages and literatures at the University of Florida and former chief faculty consultant for the national AP Spanish program; Dr. Hector Romero, professor of Hispanic Studies at UTPA; and Irina Zuniga, a UTPA graduate student in Spanish, an AP Spanish teacher at Sharyland Middle School and the present of A.L.E.G.R.E. (Asociación Latina de estudiantes graduados representando el Español) – the Hispanic Graduate Student Association of the Department of Modern Languages at UTPA. The workshop focused on the recent changes in authors and works that will be covered in the 2003 AP Spanish national exam.
Leading the workshop was Dr. Reynaldo Jimenez, professor of romance languages and literatures at the University of Florida. Jimenez has more than 25 years experience with Advanced Placement (AP) Programs and was the Spanish AP chief faculty consultant from 1997-2001.

“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

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