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Topic: AP
Replies: 4   Last Post: Sep 21, 2004 11:26 AM

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Mark Howell (Gonzaga)

Posts: 28
Registered: 12/6/04
Re: AP
Posted: Jan 31, 1996 9:03 PM
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Jerry Uhl writes:

In fact, the new AP calculator based questions are really no different from
the old hand questions. As a result the AP encourages the simple expedient
of just cutting technology into the old course possibly degrading it.

I agree that many of the new GC active AP questions do little
more than cut technology into "old" questions. And that it is
regrettable. A perfect example is the area-volume question
on the '95 exam (where a student had to use the machine
to find at least one of the three points of intersection
of x^2 and 2^x). '95 was the first year that GCs were
required, and my guess is that ETS didn't want to scare
anyone off too quickly. But, the fact that GCs are
used in the course allows more creative and penetrating
calculator- neutral questions to be asked. See AB-6 and BC-6 which
involve the area accumulation function. My sense is that
we can get closer at assessing students' understanding
of fundamental *concepts* now.
There has been justified criticism of the AP exams
that they really did little more
than assess a laundry list of skills. But the exam
*has* changed for the better over the past 5 or 6
years I think. And is moving away from the laundry list.

The real advantage of technology is its potential to be used to get at new
ideas. None of the available calculator-based courses have progressed to
this point.

It is also a real advantage of technology when it can be
used effectively as a tool to illuminate *old* ideas that
were more elusive before. Calculus hasn't changed any,
and we're still teaching Calculus, right? For example,
the use of slope fields (prominent in several "reformed" courses
and included in the new AP course description)
in a first-year calculus course *is* new, I believe, and does allow
students new graphical insights into some "old" fundamental
ideas of calculus.

I'd be interested in hearing what Jerry (or anyone
else, for that matter!) thinks the new ideas are
that we need to try to get at. Are there things we're *not*
now trying to teach in Calculus that we should be trying to teach?
What? And why?

Mark Howell

Date Subject Author
Read AP
John A Benson
Read Re: AP
Jerry Uhl
Read Re: AP
Mark Howell (Gonzaga)
Read Re: AP
Jerry Uhl
Read Re: AP

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