I have two students in my BC Calculus class this year who have real issues with their level of English proficiency. One boy is Chinese, the other Russian. Neither has been in the US more than 1.5 years (This is their first full academic year in the US).
Both students seem to understand a reasonably high percentage of material that is in the text and is "very mathematical" (eg calculations of derivatives, integrals, simple applications of either). However, they have great difficulty with the problems I use on tests, which are largely old AP problems.
While I think the issue is language, another problem may be the difference in philosphy in math education between the systems they are coming from and the "American" system. I expect students to think about what they're doing and be able to apply it in slightly novel ways. From what I've been told, these students may be more used to being expected to be able to perform complicated calcuulations that they have practiced many examples of.
Does anyone out there have any experience with similar students? In particular, I'm wondering whether there is any chance that they could be successful on the actual AP exam?
Thanks for any input on this. Elisse Ghitelman Newton North High School Newton, MA, USA