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Advanced Placement classes are changing, focusing on analytical thinking, less on memorization

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Advanced Placement classes are changing, moving away from an approach widely criticized as a “mile wide and inch deep.”

AP teachers instead are covering fewer topics within each subject, but going into more depth. The idea is to focus less on memorization and more on critical thinking, an approach similar to Common Core, which formally debuted in classrooms nationwide this fall.

“It’s more problem-solving than rote memorization,” said Blake Thomas, who teaches AP U.S. history at Hueneme High School in Oxnard. “Before, it was too much flash cards, and students were passing the test that way.”

AP classes are designed as college-level courses, attracting high-achieving high school students who can earn college credit if they score high enough on the end-of-course exams they take each spring…

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