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Topic: [ap-calculus] Re: From the Moderator + AP versus non-AP calculus
+ An AP myth

Replies: 1   Last Post: Nov 27, 2004 4:28 PM

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Richard J Maher

Posts: 80
Registered: 12/6/04
[ap-calculus] Re: From the Moderator + AP versus non-AP calculus
+ An AP myth

Posted: Nov 27, 2004 4:28 PM
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Hello all,

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=""></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

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