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AP Language and Composition

AP English Language and Composition Course Description and Learning Objectives

Students should be able to:

▶ Analyze and interpret samples of purposeful writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies. This process includes students’ understanding of what an author is saying, how an author is saying it, and why an author is saying it. Additionally, this process looks at how an author’s rhetorical choices develop meaning or achieve a particular purpose or effect with a given audience.

▶ Analyze images and other multimodal texts for rhetorical features. This goal acknowledges the multiple modes of learning that help students acquire literacy, with attention to the power of visual literacy in understanding an author’s purpose. ▶ Use effective rhetorical strategies and techniques when composing. Students apply their analytical skills to their own writing so that they are reading like writers and writing like readers.

▶ Write for a variety of purposes. Students’ writing experiences in the course must exceed the timed writings that are assessed on the AP English Language and Composition Exam. For instance, students might undertake a lengthy and intensive inquiry into a problem or controversy, consulting and evaluating arguments and viewpoints presented in a variety of sources, and using those sources to provoke, complicate, and/or support their own responses to the problem or controversy. Students’ writing in the course should also go through a process that includes feedback from other readers, revision, and proofreading. Finally, forms other than the essays featured in the exam have a place in the course, such as personal narrative, letters, advertisements, reviews, etc.

▶ Respond to different writing tasks according to their unique rhetorical and composition demands, and translate that rhetorical assessment into a plan for writing. Different contexts require different choices in creating and delivering texts. This goal addresses the importance of prewriting and planning in the writing process. ▶ Create and sustain original arguments based on information synthesized from readings, research, and/or personal observation and experience. Students learn to see argument as addressing a wide range of purposes in a variety of formats. They should be able to recognize general features of arguments, such as claims, © 2014 The College Board Return to the Table of Contents 1515AP English Language and Composition Course Description, Effective Fall 2014 evidence, qualifiers, warrants, and conclusions. Students’ ability to create informed arguments depends largely upon their reading of primary and secondary sources. The more that students discern argument as entering into a conversation with others, the more credible and cogent their own arguments become.

▶ Evaluate and incorporate sources into researched arguments. When entering into a conversation with others, students must comprehend and evaluate (not just summarize or quote) others’ positions. Such a process involves purposeful reading, a wide range of reading, and the ability to credibly support an evaluation of a writer’s position.

▶ Demonstrate understanding of the conventions of citing primary and secondary sources. Students must learn to use the conventions recommended by professional organizations such as the Modern Language Association (MLA), the University of Chicago Press (The Chicago Manual of Style), or the American Psychological Association (APA). Students need to understand that for academic writing, the selection of documentation style depends upon the discipline the writing is intended for; students therefore need to learn how to find and follow style guides in various disciplines.

▶ Gain control over various reading and writing processes, with careful attention to inquiry (research), rhetorical analysis and synthesis of sources, drafting, revising/rereading, editing, and review. This goal emphasizes the importance of the entire process of writing, including teacher intervention in providing useful feedback, along with peer review and publication.

▶ Converse and write reflectively about personal processes of composition. Metacognition, or reflection, is a key component of this course; the practice of describing their own processes helps students internalize standards — articulated by local, state, or national rubrics — of effective composition.

▶ Demonstrate understanding and control of Standard Written English as well as stylistic maturity in their own writing. This process clearly relates to the goals of reading rhetorically — the better that students understand how other writers create a particular effect or produce meaning, the more fully their own prose accomplishes such goals.

▶ Revise a work to make it suitable for a different audience. In addition to revision, this goal acknowledges the importance of recognizing a variety of audiences for a piece of writing.

© 2014 The College Board