Friday, July 26, 2013

Why restrict opportunities for students in an effort to reconcile with Common Core's Weak HS Math Content?

Let's look at the AP 9th Annual Report to the Nation

On page 15, figure 8 shows that the number of students that took a math and science AP exam inceased from 250,465 in 2002 to 497,924 in 2012, while the number of those students earning a score of 3 or higher (on a 5 point scale) increased from 154,450 in 2002 to 268,251 in 2012.

Figure 9 shows the breakdown of the number of exams taken by subject in 2012, and the score distributions.

Many of the calculus students at the school where I teach take APStats concurrently with the precalc study during their junior year, or they opt to take APStats concurrently with APCalc senior year. My point is that it has always been an option for students to take both AP Calc and AP Stats while in high school.

I've been hoping that our district would offer APCompSci for quite a while. I've had many Calc and Alg 2 students who have indicated an interest in computer science. I really think we would have enough student interest to offer the course. Even if our district needed the comp sci teacher to travel amoung our three high schools, it will still be worth it to give our students this opportunity.

I really don't understand why the College Board would consider "supplanting" AP Calculus and make a recommendation that restricts opportunities for students in an effort to reconcile Common Core's Weak HS Math Content?

Moreover, the College Board may offer an AP Algebra course (although no plans are definite), which may supplant AP Calculus, particularly in schools rigidly adhering to the Common Core standards.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Yeah, so what about fidelity to #STEM Fields? Info for #parents #teachers #legislators #edreform #CommonCore

I was so shocked by the information that the College Board was giving to school superintendents, that I decided to do a little more research.

Please feel free to share my findings.

My source for the information below is from the College Board's website "Chart an AP Course to Your Future"

I only looked at CalcAB, CalcBC, Statistics, and Computer Science A because those were the courses under consideration in my previous post.

I went through their lists of careers for each of these four AP courses. An important thing to know if you're not that familiar with AP Calculus is that many colleges and universities consider AP Calc AB equivalent to their Calc I course and AP Calc BC equivalent to both Calc I and Calc II. So it's a little confusing if you see a career on the College Board's Calc BC list that is not on the Calc AB list and that is because that career would required both Calc I and Calc II.

So, with that in mind, I interpret the information they've provided to mean that:

If a student is NOT prepared for the study of calculus (at some point), they would NOT have an opportunity to pursue these fields.

Aerospace Engineering
Agricultural Engineering
Agriculture, General
Air Transportation
Applied Mathematics
Applied Physics
Architectural Engineering
Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology
Biomedical Engineering
Business Administration and Management
Chemical Engineering
Civil Engineering
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Computer Engineering, General
Computer Graphics
Computer Networking and Telecommunications
Computer Science
Computer Software Engineering
Electrical Engineering
Engineering and Industrial Management
Engineering Technology
Entrepreneurial Studies
Environmental Engineering
Environmental Science
Environmental Studies
Exercise Science
Fishing and Fisheries
Human Resources Management
Industrial Engineering
Information Science
Information Technology
International Business
Management Information Systems
Management Science
Marine Biology
Materials Engineering
College Major
Mechanical Engineering
Molecular Biology
Natural Resouces Management and Policy
Nuclear Engineering
Nursing (RN)
Nutrition Sciences
Operations Management
Physical Education Teaching and Coaching
Real Estate

On the other hand, students who are NOT prepared to study Calculus COULD use their APStats and/or AP CompSciA credit by exam toward pursuing these fields:

(careers on the College Board's Stats or CompSci list which are not on either Calc list)

Computer Forensics
Criminal Justice
Database Management
Design and Visual Communications
Electronics Technology
Ethnic Studies, General
Foods, Nutrition, and Wellness Studies
Library and Information Science
Natural Resouces Management and Policy
Physician Assistance
Public Administration
Public Policy Analysis
Robotics Technology
Social Work
Studio Arts
Urban Studies
Web Development

I really hope that “Public Policy Analysis” isn’t supposed to be on this second list!

I also suspect that many professionals working in the fields on the second list actually did need calculus for their particular degree.

Friday, July 19, 2013

What about "fidelity" to #STEM fields? #HigherEd #APCalc #Math #EdReform

College Board: Reconciling AP Exams With Common Core

Despite these measures, there are still difficulties in reconciling many AP courses with the Common Core. In particular, AP Calculus is in conflict with the Common Core, Packer said, and it lies outside the sequence of the Common Core because of the fear that it may unnecessarily rush students into advanced math classes for which they are not prepared.

The College Board suggests a solution to the problem. of AP Calculus “If you’re worried about AP Calculus and fidelity to the Common Core, we recommend AP Statistics and AP Computer Science,” he told conference attendees.

Moreover, the College Board may offer an AP Algebra course (although no plans are definite), which may supplant AP Calculus, particularly in schools rigidly adhering to the Common Core standards.

THESE STATEMENTS ARE DISTURBING...I'm very concerned that Common Core will limit opportunities for students in mathematics.

No, I'm not "worried about AP Calculus and fidelity to the Common Core" but this statement seems to show that proponents of Common Core should definitely reconsider the claims of "rigor" - regarding 7-12 math in particular.

My mission is preparing students for their future endeavors, being responsible to their parents, my school leaders, our community and our locally elected school board, and being honest about education "reforms" that haven't proven beneficial to anyone.

Right now, Common Core seems to be in conflict with my primary mission, especially as it relates to APCalc and PreAPCalc vertical alignment... i.e. Alg2, and PreCalc.

Lisa Jones

From Aug 2011 Weak Math