frequently asked questions

Explore our most frequently asked questions on the AP Access for ALL program and supports for districts, teachers, and students.

Program Elements

AP Access for All is a partnership between TDOE and Niswonger Foundation to offer virtual AP courses to students across the state. Niswonger has offered online AP courses since 2010 to districts in the first CORE region and since 2015 to districts across the state. AP Access for All will include professional development opportunities for current and new AP teachers.

AP Access for All will deliver instruction through a learning management system, Canvas. 

AP Access for All will allow for either block or traditional scheduling of courses. 

The courses will be asynchronous. 

High schools will have the flexibility to create a schedule for virtual AP courses that works with their master schedule and their students’ schedules. Currently, some districts allow students to work on their virtual AP coursework during a study hall or a monitored period in the library. Additionally, some districts allow students to complete their AP coursework outside of the school day. 

Credits will be brought in as transfer credits at the end of the year.

Yes—AP Access for All students will have to sit for the AP exam. 

No- only students who take the Online Niswonger AP courses will have their  AP exam fees paid for through the partnership with the State department and Niswonger Foundation. 

High schools will be able to select students using local policies already in place. Niswonger Foundation will have regional staff in place to support equitable access to AP courses. Niswonger regional staff will partner with local staff and the department to identify AP ready students using longitudinal assessment data from SAS, teacher recommendations, and/or student interest. 

Currently, the plan is for the 2022 exams to return to traditional paper and pencil administrations.  College Board will evaluate the ongoing digital administration and feedback from districts to reassess once this administration is complete.

Reports will be sent out monthly to review the status of the students.  They also have the ability to review the status of students at any time through the GeniusSIS system.

District Supports

The foundation will have regional staff in each CORE region (Regional Relationship Specialists) to offer daily support to districts and schools ranging from equitable recruiting practices to AP exam administration. The foundation will also pay a stipend to a school-based official (AP Liaison) who will serve as the main point of contact between the district or school and the regional staff member. Niswonger will also employ a technology coordinator to assist with technology related issues on a daily basis. 

Final grades will be made available to schools in a timely manner and align with their marking periods. The Niswonger Online student information system will give raw scores for all AP courses. Additional AP points will be awarded by the school based on state and local policy. Districts treat the credit as a transfer credit when recording. 

All school systems new to Niswonger Online will go through an on-boarding process that will include a meeting with your local technology director. Within this meeting we will discuss internet needs, white-listing of IP addresses, troubleshoot and test the platform on your network, and answer any questions your team may have. The Niswonger Online Canvas platform is very intuitive and courses work well with all devices including laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, and even cell phones.

Teacher Supports

  • College Board Training- Teachers will have the opportunity to receive virtual College Board training in the summer of 2021 and virtual or face-to-face College Board training in 2022. This training will be provided for teachers who are new to teaching AP and for teachers who are already teaching AP but would like to refresh in their subject area.
  • Niswonger Online Teacher Training- Teachers who are currently College Board trained or receive College Board training this summer can apply to be a Niswonger Online AP teacher. Once hired and given a course, the teacher will be trained by the Niswonger Foundation in online pedagogy and teacher expectations, CanvasLMS, GeniusSIS, and all aspects of teaching in a virtual classroom.
Any teacher within the state of Tennessee with a valid TN teaching license. The teacher should also hold a secondary endorsement in the AP subject area. Selection will be based on these prerequisites as well as district and school needs, student demand for AP Access for All courses, and available spots with College Board.
Any College Board trained, state of TN teacher who holds a valid TN teaching license. Teachers will be chosen based on enrollments in online AP courses.
Yes. All Niswonger Online teachers are currently working full-time or are recently retired. Each Niswonger Online AP course has a max of 20 students. Teachers will be given a Memorandum of Understanding that explains all roles and responsibilities of this position. With this information they can then decide if they have the time required to support students in an online course in addition to their local duties.
No. Niswonger Online staff will be overseeing the creation of all online AP courses. Teachers who are hired to teach for us will be given a fully online course with all content, information pages, assessments, and a College Board approved syllabus. The teacher will be asked to personalize this course for their students by creating an inviting homepage.
Teachers who have developed an online course or would like to develop an online course may have that opportunity with us. All content development is based on the demands of school enrollments and the content that we already have developed. Teachers will learn of course development opportunities as they arise. All online courses that are developed must go through a rigorous review board process before being offered to the students. If you develop an online AP course for Niswonger Online, your course will be shared with all other AP teachers of that subject area and everyone will teach from the same course with the same College Board approved syllabus.
Yes. AP teachers in each region will have the opportunity to join an AP Cohort that meets virtually each month. During cohort meetings teachers will receive information from the College Board, have a chance to ask questions, and have the opportunity to meet in small, virtual groups to discuss various topics with their peers. Cohort meetings will be held after school hours and are optional. The meeting will last approximately 1 hour.
  • Classroom teachers will receive support through College Board training and monthly AP Cohort meetings.
  • Niswonger Online AP teachers will receive support through Niswonger Online training, Niswonger Online staff, monthly AP Cohort meetings, and a Technology Support team.

Student Supports

All curriculum materials needed for each online AP course will be provided to students at no charge. Students will be able to access this material through the course Canvas page. Students will never be required to pay for any service or application to complete the course.
Students will be supported through curriculum in the online course that includes student to teacher interactions and student-to-student online discussions in addition to all content pages. Students will be supported through their local, school-based AP Liaison. Students will have online tech support 7 days a week 8am-9pm from the Niswonger Online Technology Support team. Finally, students will have support through their online College Board account that gives them access to additional study materials and insight into the AP exams.
Teachers will engage students through an inviting online environment that offers clear instructions with varying methods to help students learn the content material. These methods include readings, videos, online lectures, class discussions, and creative class projects. Teachers will also work weekly to keep in contact with all students and guardians so these stakeholders know who to contact when questions arise.
Parents or guardians will be given a guardian account within the Niswonger Online Student Information System (GeniusSIS) when their student is enrolled in a class. With this guardian account they are connected with the online AP teacher and administrators. Teachers and administrators will copy guardians on all communications through this account. Guardians are also able to log into this account and check on their student’s grades and progress.
Labs within science courses are conducted virtually using video. Students watch videos and interact by answering questions, analyzing data, and completing what if statements that are given throughout. They are also given opportunities to discuss lab material one-on-one with their teacher through a video or voice call. Sometimes students are provided the opportunity to replicate labs at home with minimal supervision using supplies commonly found within the home. However, this is not mandatory and students will not be required to purchase materials.
Through the Regional Relationship Specialists and the local school’s AP Liaison, schools and guardians will be informed on a regular basis as to how their students are progressing. If a student begins to fall behind the online AP teacher will first contact the student and copy the guardian through email. The online teacher will also contact the local AP Liaison so this person can meet with the student/guardians face-to-face to better understand the situation.
Yes, the course will be open from the first day and students will be able to work ahead when able.
Students will track their mastery from feedback given throughout the course on practice exams and writing assignments. Students will also be given a pacing guide so they understand how to pace themselves throughout the semester or the year. Students will also have access to additional practice exam questions through their College Board account and through other online resources that are shared with them.
Online AP students will be supported through their online AP teacher, local high school AP Liaison, Regional Relationship Specialist, Niswonger Online Technology Support Team, and the administrators of the AP Access for All grant and the Niswonger Online program.

Creating an AP Culture in Tennessee

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