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Independent research on the academic benefits of the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition course indicates that not all students receive academic benefits from participating in the course.In a study with a sample size of over 90,000, the authors found that students who took the AP English Language and Composition course did not receive any increase in academic achievement unless they also prepared for and took the AP test.
The College Board advises that students choosing AP English Language and Composition be interested in studying and writing various kinds of analytic or persuasive essays on non-fiction topics, while students choosing AP English Literature and Composition be interested in studying literature of various periods and genres (fiction, poetry, drama) and using this wide reading knowledge in discussions of literary topics.
There are typically 4 short passages divided between pre-20th century non-fiction prose, and 20th and 21st century non-fiction prose.
The argument prompt typically gives a position in the form of an assertion from a documented source.
Students are asked to consider the assertion, and then form an argument that defends, challenges, or qualifies the assertion using supporting evidence from their own knowledge or reading. Formerly, the test was scored by awarding 1 point for correct answers, while taking off a 1/4 point for incorrect answers. However, the College Board discontinued the policy for all AP Exams in 2011; now they only award 1 point for each correct answer, with no 1/4 point deductions.
With the addition of the synthesis essay in 2007, the scoring tables were revised to account for the new essay type in Section II of the test.
In 2007, there was a change in the multiple choice portion of the exam.
The composite is then converted into an AP score of 1-5 using a scale for that year's exam.
Sub-scores are not available for students for the English Language and Composition Exam.
The free-response section is scored individually by hundreds of educators each June.
Each essay is assigned a score from 0-9, 9 being high.