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Four Required Capabilities
Posted:
Feb 4, 1998 5:53 PM


I have been following the discussion on the four required graphing calculator capabilities required for the AP Calculus examinations, and I would like to clear up any misunderstandings that may exist.
As you know, the AP Calculus course description states that a graphing calculator with the following four capabilities (either builtin or programmed) is required for the examinations: (1) to produce the graph of a function within an arbitrary viewing window (2) to find the zeros of a function (3) to compute the derivative of a function numerically (4) to compute definite integrals numerically
The capability to find the zeros of a function is equivalent to finding the point of intersection of two curves. A built in "solver" or a graphical "intersectionfinder" satisfies this criterion and a student may use either without loss of credit.
As an example, consider Question 6 on the 1996 Calculus AB examination (see the May 1998, May 1999 Course Description, pages 5859). In the solution to part (a) the student needs to find when two slopes, expressed in terms of "a", are equal. Once the equation has been setup (see bullet 4 in the "General Instructions" on page 43 of the Course Description), a solver could be used to obtain the answer (although in this case it might be easier and more accurate to solve the equation algebraically!).
I hope you find this information helpful.
Gloria Dion Assessment Division Educational Testing Service



