For Bio, they changed the content (and deviated it from a traditional course) to be more conceptual and less descriptional. However, life sciences especially Bio ARE descriptional. A lot of basic content was cut out (e.g. Kreb’s cycle).

The scores were dropped by the curve and by tricky SAT style conceptual questions. Of course the content was moved away from a traditional college course, so they really are wandering off of the reservation. More and more AP is like advanced high school (of its own devising) vice college equivalent.

]]>a. My public school early 80s, had in between alg2/trig and calc a year of math: one semester of “functions” (mostly baby calc, limits, Archimedes method, an example epsilon-delta, and simple derivative/antiderivatives, plus max min. I think there was some stuff on domain, continuity, differentiability and inequalities…from a simple standpoint, conceptual…not real analysis). Then we got a semester of analytical geometry which LEVERAGED the baby calc (since analyt geometry is curve visualization, you need to know max/min points and asymptotes).

b. The 1958 Schaum’s Outline on first year college math contains a 30 page introduction to calculus. (along with “college algebra”, trig and analyt). https://www.amazon.com/Theory-problems-first-college-mathematics/dp/B0007DPVM2?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

2. Traditionalists (at least me, and one other I just read on the net today) don’t see procedural learning as GUARANTEEING conceptual understanding. They just see it as cognitively easier to acquire that deep understanding if you have already gotten the mechanical procedures down. Think about how easy your kid picked it up. Don’t you think her background in the procedures made it easier to pick up the fundamentals? Conversely think about having to learn calculus from scratch from a real analysis textbook!

3. Good work with the kid.

]]>Where I live, K-8 schools end at 2:30 pm except on Wednesdays, when school’s out a little after 1. The primary emphases are on language arts and math, with science and “just say no” as side courses, and classes in art, music, drama, etc. being rare or non-existent. The kids do their first practice sheets for May testing in August or September. IMO, the schools are teaching them how to take high-stakes tests. This is hardly surprising, given that the schools are judged on the results of high-stakes tests. But the thing is that if they just taught the basic skills and taught them well, and coupled this with appropriate pacing for quicker and slower learners, the test results would improve. But everyone is, I don’t know, too stressed out to think clearly.

]]>I have a friend (the guy I mentioned above) who says the same thing about AB vs BC. But this girl is taking Pre-calc and learning calculus, so the pacing seems pretty ingrained. Maybe they are introducing it this year so it will be familiar next year.

Thanks for the mention of zombies. Very useful!

]]>I would argue that my AP Calculus AB class is almost certainly the most reasonably paced course I get to teach in a year. 3 big concepts, all interrelated, along with various applications. That is much easier than what we ask our students to do in Algebra 2, for example.

AP Calc BC, on the other hand, is a ridiculous course. It has all the material of university Calc I and Calc II, but is actually paced quicker than the university course, owing to the test taking place in early may. There are more classroom hours devoted to the material, but less calendar time, which doesn’t give nearly enough time to process and struggle.

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