Using Personal Progress Checks in AP Classroom - Lit & More (2024)

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Today I ventured into new territory with my AP®* Literature students: online practice testing. This feature is called the Personal Progress Check and it’s available on AP® Classroom, a site released in 2019. Until today I’ve resisted online assessments in favor of pencil and paper, mostly because I’ve found it too hard to avoid cheating. However, with College Board rolling out their new AP® Classroom feature, I decided to give it a shot. I began by assigning a multiple choice progress check. Overall, although the website takes some exploring to fully understand, I found the process useful in terms of the data it provided.

*AP®is a trademark registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse, this website.

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*Disclaimer: The College Board does not recommend using the assessments on AP® classroom for any kind of grade. In fact, if teachers use these assessments for any kind of recorded formative or summative grade, they can risk their class’ status as an AP® class. Instead of assessing skills for your gradebook, use these tools to prepare your students for the AP® Exam.

Step 1 – Prepare Yourself for AP® Classroom

Log in

Before even beginning to introduce AP® Classroom to your students, I suggest spending some time navigating the site yourself. In my attempt to fully understand it, I ended up creating a fake student’s name and registering myself in my class. Big mistake, as I believe I also ended up registering for the AP® Lit exam in May!). But between my blunder and your time exploring, you should be able to understand its features.

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To get to AP® Classroom you’ll need to log into AP® Planner first, which is a web page run by College Board. Use your College Board login info here, which you should have already from a course audit. If you are a first-year teacher or one who has not ever used College Board, you should be able to create your own login information. However, I would suggest letting your AP® Coordinator know that you did this just to be safe.

Another thing to talk to your AP® Coordinator about is getting your AP® Classroom code. Chances are, he or she has set up your course for you. If they have, simply get your code (it should be 6 random letters) and enter it to claim your class. If they haven’t, or you have no AP® Coordinator, you can create your own class. Once you do, a code will be provided. You’ll need this later to enroll your students.

AP® Classroom View

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be shown a home page with important dates for AP® teachers and coordinators. Scroll down a little and click AP® Classroom (on the right). Fun fact, if you look to the top right you’ll see a button that says Student View. I did not know this when I created my phony student page, but it shows you what a sample AP® Classroom looks like to students. Click around and explore the features of the site, but maybe avoid assigning a unit until you’re sure you are ready. I’ve heard of people having a hard time “unassigning” a unit.

If you’re unfamiliar with the site, you’ll want to learn about the different Personal Progress Checks, or PPCs, that you can assign students to track their progress. You can assign PPCs in multiple choice form (MCQs) or free response questions (FRQs). AP® Classroom also has a growing list of questions in a Question Bank which can be targeted towards specific skills. However, some of those questions are still under construction. If you’re a newbie or still easing into this online testing thing, I’d keep your eye on those but don’t touch them for now. The PPCs are great to use as-is and shouldn’t need customization.

Step 2 – Prepare Your Students for AP® Classroom

Walk them through

On a day before you give your first Personal Progress Check, walk your students through registering with AP® Classroom. When I did this, many of my students already had a login with College Board due to previous AP® tests (the login link is the same as the teachers’). However, some did not, and more had forgotten their credentials. Give them at least 5 minutes to register with College Board, and make sure they save their credentials to their computer (and even write them down) so the process can be quick the next time.

Distribute your code

Once registered, all they need to use AP® Classroom is your course code, available on your teacher page. Their login screen will look similar to the teacher’s screen. Again, ask them to scroll down and click on AP® Classroom. When I did this, I had not yet assigned any Personal Progress Checks to my students. However, they were still able to navigate the different tabs and see where units would show up once they were assigned. I made sure that each student not only logged in, but clicked on AP® Classroom, found the tab that said Units to see the different Personal Progress Checks that were currently locked. Altogether, this registration process took us about 10 minutes. I’d budget for longer time with a bigger group, as some other classes experienced wifi issues.

I want to emphasize again the importance of doing this step on a day before you intend to assign it. Many teachers lost a full day because they ran into technical difficulties, or a student fell behind because of login issues. I did this two days before I needed it to be cautious and it led to a pain-free PPC during our scheduled time.

Step 3 – Assign & Take the Personal Progress Check

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Assign your Personal Progress Check (PPC)

Once your students are registered with AP® Classroom, you can assign your first Personal Progress Check. Simply log in to AP® Classroom and click on the tab that says Progress Checks. Select your unit and question type and click Assign. A box will show up. Make sure you check each class that you want to take the PPC. You can also toggle Unlock the assessment now (or do it later if you want), as well as give a time limit, a due date, and whether or not you want students to see their results. I’m indifferent on time limits, but I strongly suggest you allow students to see their results. They won’t be able to see them until you mark the assignment complete, and the data they collect from their scores will be useful later.

You can assign the PPC to be completed outside of class or provide time in class. I gave students time during our block period and they all finished in 30 minutes. I highly recommend printing out the passages for our MCQ so students can annotate the text. Printed passages also make it easier to refer back to the text when discussing it later. You may not want to, but I chose to take the assessment with the students by reading the questions from the Preview button. We spend at least 30 minutes of every Thursday doing independent reading, so as they read I looked over the data.

Step 4 – Study the Data Yourself

Once my students were finished and off to independent reading, I logged into AP® Classroom and marked the Personal Progress Check as complete. This populated the student data so I could see it. First of all, you see an overview of your class’ performance (see below). You can also click on your individual students to see how each student fared.

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I clicked on View Results to the right of the colored bar and I was able to see my students’ individual scores on each question. It only took a few minutes to sort my students into three groups based on their weakest standard. I then accessed the questions listed below each skill on the new AP® Lit CED, selecting one central question for my student groups to review. These questions are paired with the essential skill on my AP® Lit Task Cards, for sale in my TpT store. You can see how we used them in the pictures below.

Step 5 – Guide the Students Through Data Study and Goal-Setting

For the last 20 minutes of class, I passed out forms that I created to track data from the PPC. These forms go beyond the data tracking done on AP® Classroom as they ask students to reflect on their data and create goals. These forms are available in my TpT store for free, just click here!

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I placed students in groups based on their data and we reflected on weak spots in the assessment. I asked each group to reflect on the question included in their standard’s task card and apply it to one of the texts from the PPC. These group discussions helped students compare their interpretations of the text and the questions with their peers in order to look at them in a different light. Finally, students returned to their data sheets and created goals for their next PPC. The forms are being stored in my classroom for them to access anytime.

My Assessment of the Personal Progress Check Process

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Overall, I felt very pleased with the overall assessment process of AP® Classroom. I’ve always struggled with multiple choice practice tests in my own classes because I wasn’t able to provide much for feedback or ideas to build off in our lessons. While I have separate issues with AP® Classroom (like their horrid question bank), I like how the Personal Progress Check brings each question back to a focused skill and that those skills are easy to track.

I plan on using these forms and the PPC data to gauge our progress at the semester break. If certain skills are testing lower than others I can adjust my lessons to strengthen these weaknesses for the second half of the year. I also pair these with my AP® Lit task cards when we need to zero in on a particular skill.

One Year Later

Obviously the 2020 school year did not end up the way anyone expected. This system is still in place and AP® Classroom and Personal Progress Checks remain a useful tool for all AP ®teachers. To hear feedback and teaching strategies from participants in the 2020 AP® Lit Online scoring, check out this post.

Looking for more help with AP® Lit? Join my email list for weekly articles, resources, and strategies about AP® Lit and get a free resource on writing tips when you sign up! I’ve been teaching AP® English Literature for my entire teaching career (on year 14 as I write this) and have read for the exam 5 times. If you’re interested in getting more help, I have a Teachers Pay Teachers store with hundreds of AP® Lit resources, many of which are free!

Using Personal Progress Checks in AP Classroom - Lit & More (2024)


Can you do progress checks on AP classroom? ›

You can use the Progress Checks report to identify the topics and skills students should continue practicing. Students can also get feedback on their responses through the question rationales and scoring guidelines at their teacher's discretion.

Can AP classroom progress checks be graded on accuracy? ›

It is important to remember that the personal progress checks cannot be used as grades in your grade book, but you can assign student reflections over their performances, and those can definitely be used as formative assessments.

Does AP Classroom detect cheating? ›

The only way the teacher could see if you switched tabs on the quiz is if they have a separate app that monitors each student's computer. Most teachers don't use that application anyways though especially with AP Classroom because the quizzes are harder than they should be anyways.

What are AP classroom progress checks? ›

Progress Checks

Periodically gauge student understanding of course topics and skills by assigning these multiple-choice and free-response formative assessments by unit. Learn How to Assign Progress Checks.

Can teachers grade progress checks on AP classroom? ›

Because Personal Progress Checks are formative, the results of these assessments cannot be used to evaluate teacher effectiveness or assign letter grades to students, and any such misuses are grounds for losing authorization to offer AP courses.

Can teachers see if you watched a video on AP Classroom? ›

Extra Details. Teachers have the option of assigning the videos to students. Simply click on the video, and then click the "Assign"button in the upper right corner. Teachers then have the ability to see which students have viewed the video (students must view 95% of the video for it to be counted as completed).

Have AP scores ever been wrong? ›

What If I Think My AP Exam Score is Incorrect? While it is unlikely that your exam has been scored incorrectly, it's not impossible. There could be a very rare computer malfunction during scanning, or you could have used the wrong type of pencil when filling out your answer form.

Do AP tests penalize guessing? ›

The College Board announced a new grading policy for AP exams that no longer penalizes students for guessing. The old policy deducted a fraction of a point for each incorrect multiple choice answer, but starting this May, students will only receive points for correct answers.

Does AP Classroom show if you skip through videos? ›

That AP Classroom does not allow students to skip through a video and still earn credit for having “watched” the video. Students must watch the entire video for AP Classroom to so register.

What happens if you cheat in an AP class? ›

The more likely scenario is your score is canceled, and you have a free retest. Both of these scenarios are not ideal, but both are a lot better than being banned from testing and having colleges be told by the College Board or ACT that you're a cheater.

Do AP teachers see your test? ›

You, the college, university, or scholarship program you designated using your free score send, and educators in your school and district, including your AP teachers, will automatically receive your scores once they're released.

Does AP Classroom automatically submit assignments? ›

The teacher uses the "Actions" drop-down at the top of the assessment's details page to "Submit All Unsubmitted." Clicking this option will auto-submit the assessments of all students with a status of "In progress," but will not impact those who have "Not started."

Why does it take so long for AP Classroom to grade? ›

Why Do AP Scores Take So Long? Although most AP exams include multiple choice, many also include free-response questions, and these can take time to grade. Each year, AP readers — typically high school teachers and college professors — get together to read and score students' free responses.

Why does AP Classroom say awaiting scoring? ›

In Progress means you have started the assessment and saved your progress. You can go to the Assignments tab to resume the assessment if it is unlocked. Awaiting scoring means you have completed the assessment and are waiting for it to be scored.

How can teachers check AP scores? ›

In order to access AP Score Reports for Educators all authorized AP teachers, AP coordinators, principals, and district administrators must have a College Board Education Professional account.

Can AP teachers see what score you got? ›

You, the college, university, or scholarship program you designated using your free score send, and educators in your school and district, including your AP teachers, will automatically receive your scores once they're released.

Can AP teachers proctor AP Exams? ›

Proctors must be responsible adults; they may not be high school students. Teachers, including AP teachers, may serve as proctors for exams in a subject area other than the one they teach.

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