Big milestone in Calculus. The kids took their fourth benchmark representing a good 70% of the material. We're down to odds and ends now.


Before I reveal my projections, it has been a long road.

In which we make projections a year ago
In which we find some high points in mediocre results
In which we reform the idea of working through Calculus
In which we start seeing the payoffs
In which we begin to rise to the challenge

Beacon of Hope

Here we are, 74 days out from the exam. My crazy plan either took hold or it didn't. Exam review has to start in earnest fairly soon.

It could be a very good July:

Shout out to my friend senioritis for making an appearance here, February isn't the same without you buddy! 

The most recent mock exam had 19 pts worth of free response and 24 pts of multiple choice. I fudge the scoring system a little here, as I set a 1-5 scale based on a max of 43 pts, not 47.8 pts as the true AP method would (FRQ + 1.2*MC). In reality, a few kids should slide down a level, but given that the prior expectation at my school for kids taking this thing was a 1 (and not even a good 1, more like a default 1) and that was that, I think the fudge is ok here. As I build this program into something where passing the exam becomes expected and not a surprise, that might change.

What's the cumulative column? I added all points available on prior exams and set a 1-5 scale.

  • Exam 1 - 16 pts MC
  • Exam 2 - 22 pts MC
  • Exam 3 - 6 pts FRQ, 24 pts MC
  • Exam 4 - 19 pts FRQ, 24 pts MC
  • Total: 25 pts FRQ, 86 pts MC

MC questions were MC in content only (based off password protected released material), very rarely were actual choices given, students were required to find the right answer without any opportunity to just guess.

It's not perfect (and the same MC fudge is in there), but it helps create some buckets. There is clearly a large population that has put in the work to succeed. Being at the bottom is not the norm, and that raises each student's personal expectations. Other kids are succeeding at this, couldn't that be me too?


As always, my standard disclaimer when discussing standardized exams is I know exam scores aren't everything. A passing score on this exam is just one vector to demonstrate we can have an effective Calculus program at my school. None of these kids are buying the study books. None of them are sitting through expensive AP review with a tutor. Few of them have parents who ever a took an AP class themselves. Many of them just by making it to 12th grade have gotten further in school than their parents.

Success here means that high level proficiency is really openly accessible like it should be. My parents and their education level should not determine how much I'm capable of learning.

There are still hurdles, and I can't guarantee them anything once they leave, but at least we moved the needle on the culture. This material is within my capabilities. I can do it. Lots of us can.

AuthorJonathan Claydon