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Re: is calculus a waste of time?
Posted:
Apr 13, 2000 1:32 PM


>Last fall, one of my students wrote the following comments about his >AP calculus course. >"In the class of 22 students, only one student got above a 1 on the AP >test. The class included the top four students in our grade. For the >most part during the year, we were left to teach ourselves. I hadn't >ever seen some of the information on the AP test."
>This is indicative of the experiences of the vast majority of AP >calculus students. Many of our top students are being pseudoeducated >by this racket.
You posted these paragraphs once before, and it didn't make any more sense back then. After all, the "vast majority" (80%) of those who take the AP test score 2 or higher. Assuming your student's comments are accurate, his course was indeed a wreck, but it can't be "indicative of the experiences of the vast majority of AP calculus students", can it?
Can it? How do you square your statement with the AP statistics? You want hard data, don't overlook the national data on AP scores.
Now this doesn't mean that AP calculus isn't a racket and that many students aren't being pseudoeducated  but this student's experience is clearly unusual even by AP standards. A more useful question would be to look at the abilities of students in classes where most students score 3 or higher, and a significant number score 5.
Ted Alper



