SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic faculty members Mrs. Marla James, Mr. Edward Sagendorf, and Mrs. Katie Sagendorf all had very rewarding experiences when they recently worked as Advanced Placement exams readers, which was done exclusively on-line for the first time ever.   

AP readers, who must teach an AP class, evaluate and score AP students' free responses, ensuring that high school students receive AP grades that accurately reflect college-level achievement in a specified discipline. All readers scored from home and were asked to commit at least 35 hours to training and scoring.

“This was the third year that I worked as an online grader for the Advanced Placement European History exams,’’ said Mrs. James. “However, due to the pandemic, it was the first year all exams were administered online and graded at home. According to the College Board, this month, over 25,000 teachers played a key role in the scoring process. As always, it is an invaluable professional development opportunity that translates into benefits for my students at Union Catholic. The grader training, as well as the reading of hundreds of student essays, improves my ability to facilitate expert learners in my own classroom.’’

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Mr. Sagendorf, who graded AP U.S. History for the third year, said being an AP reader has made him an even better teacher.

“I think the reading makes me a better AP teacher,’’ said Mr. Sagendorf. “I love how the entire process is very collaborative with other AP teachers in your content area from around the country, and you also get to talk to professors. So you are getting that experience of how I am doing compared to the higher level. We discuss content, and best strategies, so it’s fantastic for professional development. And to be part of the process of grading exams, you have your hand on the pulse of the exam. You get a bearing on how the reading went, and you get trends on what you see from grading hundreds of essays, you can get a sense of what you need to do to improve as a teacher and what is working well for you. It has simplified my teaching and made it more efficient.’’         

Mrs. Sagendorf, who was reading AP English Literature and Composition for the first time, felt the experience was very beneficial.

“It was an awesome opportunity,’’ said Mrs. Sagendorf. “I feel like I learned a lot, it was great for my personal development as a teacher, and I will be a better grader having done this.''    

Union Catholic (1600 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains) prepares a diverse student body to fulfill their college and career goals by cultivating the students' achievement of academic standards of excellence within a value-centered environment, strong in its commitment to our core values (respect, responsibility, honesty, compassion, and community), and to the establishment of a community of faith and love in the Catholic tradition. For more information, call (908) 889-1600 or visit www.unioncatholic.org.