I don't write much about Calculus because frankly I'm not sure I know what I'm doing. I need another summer to reflect. The primary goal last summer was to find an assessment strategy that worked. What I came up with has been doing ok. Given the ultimate goal of the class, demonstrate 50% proficiency on a very context/vocabulary heavy exam, it has become less useful as we wind down. In fact, the last on these SBG-ish assessments will be given in April, about a month before the 2015 AP Exam. After that we're out of new material. Plus, at this point I kind of know what I have.

How? Mixed in with their standard assessment have been mock AP Exams. A theory about our historic awfulness on the exam has to do with exposure to AP like questions. After digging through tons of them, the AB test requires far less gritty math skill than you'd think. In December students took about half a test and could work on it together. A few weeks ago was their big trial by fire, half an AP test (30 multiple choice, 3 free response based on released College Board material) done independently.

Results are not spectacular, but I'm feeling ok:

As it's about time to hand in your AP registrations, I gave an official opinion to each student based on their performance. I had to be mean and tell a lot of ambitious kids no. Two kids with 3s were two points shy of a 4 which was stupendous. Now, I have no authority to prohibit them from taking the exam, but they should know if they're going to wind up wasting their time. Or this has all been a long con on their part and they'll do great, who knows.

That healthy chunk of 2s gives me something to work with. Many of them were not far from a 3. I advised most of these kids to register. Another subset I left it up to them, some of them were in that group of 1s.

You can look at that and think, well those scores do suck. And they kinda do. With six weeks to go I feel like everyone is capable of jumping a level. All of them (that weren't just utterly lost) said it really came down to vocabulary, the math was not difficult.

I'm trying to change expectations for students in this class, and we might just slowly be getting somewhere.

AuthorJonathan Claydon