" But it seems clear that a large fraction of Florida's students who enroll in AP Calculus are not prepared to do so,..."
Woah! The AP Calculus program was set up and run by the College Board for purposes of educating high school students in some or all of elementary calculus. The AP test scores reflect *only* the number of students who qualify for college credits at specific levels.
Many high school students who enroll in AP calculus have no intention of testing out of college courses. Many use it only for advanced prep for calculus ... or even to decide whether or not the should think about STEM majors in college.
Many schools give students the opportunity of exploring calculus, without expecting them to get college credit. A 70% failure rate on AP exams does *not* equate with a only a 30% success rate for the HS courses. Depending on what the schools are trying to do for the students who enroll in their calculus courses, the actual success rate for a course might be 95%, while only 5% pass the AP test.
[Indeed, a high school course that aims for in-depth conceptual understanding of the normally troublesome components of calculus might not even be designed to produce good AP scored.]
Let's be thinking!
- -------------------------------------------------- From: "Louis Talman" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 5:28 PM To: "Robert Hansen" <email@example.com>; "Discussion Math-Teach" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Discussion: Do US Math Teachers Suck?
> On 3/27/12, Robert Hansen <email@example.com> wrote: > >> The "94" metric (actually I just rechecked, it is 93) was for a single >> state, Florida. Some states are better and some states are, well, >> probably >> better. The details are in this post... >> >> http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7746419&tstart=15 >> >> This is how college works, isn't it Lou? Unreasonably high rates of >> attrition that everyone takes for granted. The cost of doing business. Do >> you have a lot of experience with teaching classes where more than half >> of >> your students fail? This is what 70% of the AP classes in Florida look >> like. >> You are right, it is a local issue. That is how our schools are run. But >> it >> has national importance. I think it is also important for parents to >> realize >> that AP is not a uniformly run program. AP had every reason going for it >> to >> be a standard bearer, but something or someone else had other plans. > > Let's be clear here. (Yes---I know. You think clarity unimportant.) > The AP program *is* "uniformly run". It isn't run by the State of > Florida, nor is it run by individual schools or school districts. It's > run by the College Board. > > Florida evidently has a preparation problem---whether it pertains to > teachers, to students, or to both I can't say. But it seems clear that > a large fraction of Florida's students who enroll in AP Calculus are > not prepared to do so, or that a large fraction of Florida's teachers > who teach AP Calculus are not prepared to do so, or that both > statements are true. That's a local problem---not a problem with the > AP program. > > As to your continued complaints that the passing scores for the AP > Calculus exams are too low, I suggest that you, yourself, would have > grave difficulty in achieving what you think a good score might be on > the Free Response portion of the exam if you were to take it, > sight-unseen, under the conditions students do so. > > - --Louis A. Talman > Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences > Metropolitan State College of Denver > > <http://rowdy.mscd.edu/%7Etalmanl>