Most students are familiar with the typical end-of-year AP exam: a written (or sometimes oral) exam administered on one day in May. For most APs, this end-of-course assessment will be the only factor in your final score that gets sent off to colleges. However, some AP courses have an additional method of assessment. “Through-course assessments” are projects that students are assigned over the course of the class that will factor into their final AP score. If you are enrolled in such a course, it’s important to be aware of what’s expected of you.
Through-course assessments are important in a number of ways. Of course, the most obvious is that they factor into your final score. But they can also be helpful for teachers who want to evaluate how well students are learning and retaining information as the class progresses. This allows them to better gauge how well you will be prepared for the final exam.
In general, through-course assessments are broken into two categories: team projects and individual projects. An example of a team project might be compiling information from research papers written by a few individuals into a multimedia presentation that everyone prepares and presents together. Individual written arguments, individual presentations and oral defense arguments are examples of individual projects that can serve as through-course assessments. These projects, whether team or individually based, will be graded on the same 5-point scale as the end-of-course AP exam, and can make up anywhere from 20 to 35 percent of a student’s final AP score.
Not every AP course has through-course assessments, so it’s important to do your research and be aware if your particular course does. AP Seminar, AP Research, and AP Computer Science Principles are three courses that generally will include them, so if you enroll in any of these you can expect to complete one or two projects during the year that will factor into your final score. Knowing the specific requirements of any course will always set you up for success.