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ASA Launches New Link with High School Sociology

by Carla B. Howery
Deputy Executive Officer

In August 2002, the ASA Council enthusiastically approved an affiliate relationship between high school teachers (and social studies departments) and the ASA. This membership-like relationship is similar to the Department Affiliate link between sociology departments and ASA. While high school teachers are welcome as full members of ASA, given their many subject area interests and teaching organizations, it may be financially and otherwise unrealistic for them to join the many disciplinary associations relevant to their teaching responsibilities. The affiliate relationship provides high school teachers (and their departments) with an opportunity to access key publications at member prices, and to be informed of the special professional opportunities to advance their sociological education.

Benefits of Affiliating

High school departments that become High School Affiliates receive a subscription to Contexts magazine, and the opportunity to order other ASA journals, such as Teaching Sociology at member prices. Teachers may order any of the ASA teaching publications at member prices and the Task Force hopes that teachers will contribute their materials as well.

Affiliates are encouraged to attend the ASA Annual Meeting and take advantage of its many sessions and workshops. As part of ASA’s new emphasis on continuing education and training for all sociologists, the 2003 Annual Meeting includes a daylong workshop (either before or after the Annual Meeting) on “Teaching Sociology in the High School.” If, or when, there is an Advanced Placement (AP) Course in Sociology, ASA will continue to offer training workshops for and with teachers. Continuing education credits are available for many of the workshops and courses offered during the Annual Meeting.

ASA Task Force on the AP Course in Sociology

ASA’s Task Force on the AP Course in Sociology recommended the affiliate arrangement as the next step in ASA’s collaboration with high school sociology teachers. Laboring for two years to draft a model AP course for high school sociology teachers to pilot test, the Task Force has simultaneously been working with the College Board that authorizes and administers all AP exams. The course outline is posted on ASA’s homepage for review and comment at

Task Force Chair Caroline Hodges Persell has met with the College Board to encourage consideration of an AP exam in sociology. At a meeting last spring, the Task Force heard briefings from the American Psychological Association, the American Political Science Association, and the Association of American Geographers about their experiences with the development of an AP course and AP exam. Each association was positive about the impact of the AP course and exam. They noted that the rigor of the high school course was enhanced by the AP course and thus high school students came to college better informed about and prepared for additional study in these fields. Further, for political science, the AP course led to increased enrollments in college political science courses.

The Task Force is preparing six units of course outlines and classroom resources for high school teachers to pilot test in 2003. Several Task Force members will partner with a high school teacher in their local school district to review the materials. Two high school teachers are members of the Task Force and will experiment with the materials. And Task Force member Barbara Schneider, University of Chicago, has arranged several test sites in the Chicago public schools.

ASA members interested in high school sociology and who have contacts with high school teachers are encouraged to contact the Task Force and share ideas and teacher names. ASA will promote the High School Affiliate arrangement through the National Council on the Social Studies and other lists of teachers currently teaching sociology.

Direct correspondence to: Carla B. Howery, ASA, 1307 New York Avenue, NW, #700, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 383-9005 x323;

Members of the ASA Task Force on the AP Course in Sociology

Caroline Hodges Persell, New York University (Chair)
Anne Boyle Cross, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University
Robert Greene, Greenfield High School (WI)
Mary Holley, Montclair State University
Jay Howard, Indiana University-Purdue University, Columbus
Carla Howery, American Sociological Association
David Karen, Bryn Mawr College
Barbara Schneider, University of Chicago
Jerry Shepperd, Austin Community College
Teresa Sullivan, University of Texas- Austin
Scott Zanni, Magruder High School (MD)