Trouble looms on the horizon.
I attended a session at the 2008 AAPT Summer Meeting in Edmonton regarding the upcoming redesign of the College Board's AP Physics B program. The proposed changes will make Physics B a two-course program. Too many schools teach the current Physics B as a first-year course, despite the College Board's admonition that Physics B is intended to be a second-year course. For this and other reasons, the plan is to split the course into two courses: AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2.
As someone who moved his school away from AP Physics B as a first-year course, I applaud such an initiative.
The redesign is still in progress, and the College Board has not yet announced the course outlines for AP Physics 1 or AP Physics 2. Implementation of the redesign will not occur before 2013. But one proposal has been unveiled for teacher review and comment.
The proposed AP Physics 1 course would include
Linear motion in 1- and 2-dimensions
Gravitational, electrostatic, and contact forces
Energy transfers as work and heat
Linear momentum conservation
Charge conservation and simple circuits
A few topics of interest in the AP Physics 2 course include
Electric and magnetic fields and forces
Interference and diffraction
Reflection and refraction
As proposed, AP Physics 1 will not be practicable in California. Too many of California's 9-12 Physics content standards are left out. AP Physics 1 is intended as first course. A first course in California physics must include a robust treatment of electricity and magnetism and waves (including wave optics).
I hope changes are made to the course outline before implementation. California's implementation of NCLB has all but banned Physics First from public instruction in California. I hope the College Board's implementation of the AP redesign doesn't likewise banish AP Physics from The Golden State.