There have been a variety of comments on the above three subjects over the past few days. Here are mine:
1: The article quoted in the Moderator's message should be viewed in light of the data at <a href="http://measuringup.highereducation.org/2000/">http://measuringup.highereducation.org/2000/</a> For example, in 2002 the five-year completion rate for college students in Texas was 41%; this should be compared with the rate on the chart in the article. Go to the web page to see the various qualifiers listed, qualifiers which are not included in the article. I have not read the book on which the article is based, so I can not in fairness judge the quality of its statistics. However, the numbers in the Post article in and of themselves have no statistical value; they are just a table of numbers. I would be hesitant to draw any conclusions from them.
2: If calculus is going to be offered in high school, it should be AP calculus. A course in STATISTICS (Freedman, Aliaga, ...) or FINITE MATHEMATICS" (COMAP, Hathaway, ...) would be a much better choice for both the academic and civic futures of the students. In particular, a course of either type would require students to set up models, make judgments, and draw conclusions. In other words, they would have to think about what they are doing.
In my experience, students who take AP calculus, but do not get a 4 or a 5 on the AP test, are very similar to students who do take a non-AP calculus class in high school; too many of think they know calculus. Their performance on their first college calculus examination is usually a shock and, hopefully, a wake-up call. As for the 4's and 5's, their performance in more advanced courses, again in my experience, ranges from very good to very bad. I realize that these comments run contrary to many of the submissions to this list but, again, why are schools reexamining the way they award AP calculus credit?
3: Students who get college credit for two or three AP classes typically are not going to save any money. Most institutions of higher learning charge "full-time" students the same tuition whenever they take a full course load, which may range from 12 to 18 hours per term. On the other hand such a student can shave a semester off of their undergraduate work through the appropriate use of summer classes, which usually cost less, per course, than full time tuition during the regular academic year. Of course, the structure of their major courses has to be amenable to this approach. Similar comments apply to students who get credit for six or more AP courses except, again their major requirements willing, they can get out a year earlier with the help of summer courses.
Richard J. Maher Mathematics and Statistics Loyola University Chicago 6525 N. Sheridan Rd. Chicago, Illinois 60626 1-773-508-3565 firstname.lastname@example.org
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