How I’m Teaching AP Macro Despite Having No Content Knowledge

How I Prepared the Students for the Unit III and IV Tests

For starters, I abandoned the approach that I had taken since the start of the school year (with this approach described in detail in my September report).

My Students’ Unit III and IV Test Scores

Given the above, most teachers might have predicted that my students wouldn’t do very well on their Unit III and IV MCQ and FRQ tests.

Where I Stand on the Issue of Retakes

I‘m a fan of retakes, but only if:

  • The students wanting to take a retake, first present their teacher, as they enter the room on the day of the retake, with a “retake room entry ticket”, with this ticket to describe in detail the specific things that the student did to get ready for the retake (amount of time spent studying, test corrections, etc.)
  • The teacher giving the retake records in the grade book the average of the retake and original test scores, regardless of whether this average is high or lower than the original test score.
  1. With AP Classroom the creation, administration, and scoring of all tests and quizzes is super easy; so too the recording of all test and quiz scores.
  2. I believe that retakes are a great way for teachers to help alleviate unwanted and unnecessary student stress and anxiety.
  3. I disagree with those who say that in the real world, nobody allows for retakes. The PSATs, SATs, ACTs, DMV driver license tests, law school admission tests, and the tests that allow you to become a pilot, operating room surgeon, and every other kind of high paying, well respected professional, all allow for retakes.

The Students’ Semester-long Project

By the end of September, all of my students had signed up to do one of the following:

  • Produce a business plan.
  • Produce an AP Daily Macroeconomics “resemblance video.”
  • Produce a feature story designed for publication in the San Marino Tribune (the local newspaper), with this feature story to describe the history, particularly during Covid, of a “super cool Los Angeles area small business that the residents of San Marino might be interested in learning about.”
  • Produce a 750–1000 word blog post describing how they, while hypothetically serving as a member of a registered interest group, sought to affect economic-related policy on behalf of that interest group.

Zoom Meeting with Jacob Reed

Given that so many of my school’s 120+ AP Macro students are big fans of Jacob Reed’s ReviewEcon videos, I arranged, mid-October, for Jacob to meet with some of these students via Zoom.

Jacob Reed

The Most Important Things I’ve Learned to Date

  1. The AP Macroeconomics Daily Videos are a far more powerful teaching and learning tool than many AP teachers are currently suggesting.
  2. AP Classroom has much to offer, though it takes much time and effort for a teacher to learn to utilize this resource well.
  3. The Unit IV test, for all of the Macroeconomics students here at SMHS (and not just mine), proved infinitely more challenging than any of the Unit 1-III tests.
  4. My students' FRQ scores tend to be better than their MCQ scores.

What I’m Wondering About

  1. To what extent, will the students’ average MCQ scores decline as we move into Units V-VI. Their Unit IV average score was lower than their Unit III average score and their Unit III average score was lower than their Unit II average score.
  2. To what extent, will the students’ average FRQ scores continue to exceed their MCQ scores.
  3. Will I need to reschedule the Unit VI test? Per the CED, the Unit VI test is to be scheduled five class periods after the Unit V test. My Unit V test is scheduled for November 8 and my Unit VI test is scheduled for November 17.



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Peter Paccone

Peter Paccone


High school APUSH teacher with much in-class and online teaching experience. Also a blogger, keynote speaker, editor, podcast host, and conference presenter.