Sunday, April 21, 2013

AP Calculus - Crunch Time

So prepping seniors for AP Calculus is no easy feat.  The second semester is here, all of them know their grades are no longer that important, and most therefore don't care so long as they pass (which is all true).  They also start losing focus on the goal of passing the AP test, nothing really matters (I can hear Queen playing), but the AP does matter - it is college credit!

So every year I try to finish the Calculus AB curriculum by early March, leaving nearly 2 months of review.  I continue with homework, but senior-irus keeps a large chuck from doing any real quality work, so we use the class time to hammer home the prep.  But this year due to a variety of factors we did not get thru the curriculum until April 1, and that is leading to unprepared students for the first Wednesday in May.

I take pride in the fact that a student that has received a D or better in my AP Calc course has gotten a passing score on the AP the last 3 years. The way we do that is the prep time from March 1st, it is what solidifies the concepts and understanding.  This year we simply have run out of time for the lazy stricken seniors, I find myself pushing down the path and not sure they will all make it this year.

AP problems are a beast of their own.  Even though I include the free response type questions as soon as I can on my tests (usually around early December because of the base knowledge required), they simply need practice applying all their knowledge onto one problem.  They also see a ton of multiple choice AP questions through-out the year - so the students are set on those.  They cannot pass my course if they cannot do the AP multiple choice, and understand it.  Yet if you get a D why would you think you should pass the AP?

But in previous years we were able to make it, so the lesson is to double up, do extra sessions, simply do whatever it takes to be done by March 1.  Crunch time needs to be 8 weeks!