...kids not taking the AP Exam?

This may or may not be an issue for you, but it's something I find it just as important as preparing the kids who are taking the exam. (And regardless of hearsay and tradition, making the exams mandatory as a part of the course is not something the College Board is ok with)

Last year I had two classes of Calculus. In one, 17/30 were taking the exam. In the other it was only 8/20. I was not happy with my choices for kids who weren't taking the exam. Our review started about this time of year and the plan was to work through free response questions that were grouped by category. Problem was, throughout the year the kids had spent some time with AP style benchmarks and knew exactly how well or not well they could handle the material. I had several data points validating why my non-testers were non-testers in the first place. Having them work through the same free response load as if they were on an even footing was just so inefficient.

This year, the kids were given even better AP style benchmarks which help render an official opinion about their chances. The scant 17 (out of 68, yay progress!) non-testers had many data points indicating that they didn't grasp the content well.

So what are my options? What are my responsibilities? I could sit on my high horse about it, make them work through the 100-item review set I made (50 MC, 50 FRQ parts), watch them not succeed with it and say "I told you so." Or, give them an opportunity to rehash the material and see if they can pick up a few things, or demonstrate what they do know. While not necessarily able to dissect the subtleties of a free response questions, they get the whole integral/derivative thing.

I developed a set of exercises for them to complete, one for each day of our review period. Plus a couple of mini-projects. All of it due in a couple weeks. It covered material I felt like they could complete independently within their understanding of the course. On the day of the AP Exam they take their own version which serves as part of their final exam (students in AP courses not taking the exam aren't allowed exemptions).

I'm not saying I let them off the hook here and threw them a free A. The benchmarks and their course grades properly reflect their struggles, but when they walk out of here, I want them to feel like they got something out of it. At a minimum if someone ever asks them about Calculus they could give an elevator pitch.

Non-Testers Exercises (TeX files and PDF)

AuthorJonathan Claydon