A Few More Things

The AP Calculus AB and BC exams are scheduled for Tuesday May 15, 2018 at 08:00 local time. That’s about 5 weeks away. I’ve posted all my review notes, finishing well ahead of time so, if you find something useful in them, you’ll have time to incorporate it into your review. I hope you find them helpful. The links to the 12 review posts are at the end of this post. 

What this also means is that I finished my year before you. There will be only occasional posts between now and August when I’ll start again going through the year. Should I find something interesting to write about, I’ll post it. To be sure you don’t miss anything, I suggest you click on the “Follow Teaching Calculus” link at the very bottom of the right hand column. This will inform you of new post by email. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, suggestions, or anything you’d like my thoughts on please email me at lnmcmullin@aol.com or add a comment at the end of any post.

Happy reviewing. Good luck to your students on the exam!

For today a few short items, including a great new resource. 

On grading practice exams

When going over their students’ work on the real AP Exam questions teachers often get bogged down in the minutia of grading. They want, quite naturally, to give their students every point they earned, but not more than that. They have questions like, “What is they forget the dx?”  or “Do they have to include units?” This is my suggestion originally posted to the AP Calculus Community bulletin board a few weeks ago:

As exam time nears, teachers become concerned about exactly what to give credit for and what not to give credit for when grading their students’ work on past AP free-response questions.

Chief Reader Stephen Davis recently posted a note on the grading of a fictitious exam question showing how 2 points might have been awarded on a L’Hospital’s Rule question.  The note is interesting because it shows the detail that exam leaders consider when deciding what to accept and what not; it shows the detail that readers must keep in mind while grading. This type of detail with the examples is given to the readers in writing for each part of each question. With about 500,000 exams each year, this level of detail is necessary for fairness and consistency in the scoring.

BUT, as teachers preparing your students for the exam you really don’t need to be concerned about all the fine points (2.5 pages’ worth) as readers do. Encourage your students to answer the question correctly and show the required work. This is shown on the scoring standard for each question (on Stephen’s sample it is in the ruled area directly below the question). Don’t worry about the fine points – what if I say this, instead of that. If your students try to answer and show their work but miss or overlook something, the readers will do their best to follow the student’s work and give him or her the points they have earned.

Why show your students the minimum they can get away with? That does not help them! Do your students a favor: score the review problems more stringently than the readers. If their answer is not quite right, take off some credit and help them learn how to do better. It will help them in the long run.

NCTM AP Calculus Panel Discussion

This is an invitation to everyone attending NCTM Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. Please join us for the annual AP Calculus Panel Discussion.

Date: Saturday April 28, 2018 from 8:00 to 10:30 AM

Location:  Room 159AB in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C.

The tentative speakers are

·         Stephen Davis, chief reader for AP Calculus who will discuss the 2017 exams

·         Stephanie Ogden, from the College Board

·         Karen Hyers member of the calculus development committee

·         Mark Howell long time reader, table leader and author

·         Lin McMullin Moderator of the AP Calculus Community and your host.

After the panel discussion there will be a question and answer period, and a raffle.

No RSVP is necessary. Just come, meet the panelists, and enjoy the discussion.

The panel is sponsored jointly by D & S Marketing System, Inc., Bedford, Freeman and Worth, and HP.

A new Index of Multiple-choice Questions

Once again we have Ted Gott to thank for a new spreadsheet collating each multiple-choice question with the Learning Objective (LO) and the Essential Knowledge (EK) listed in the Course and Exam Description.

Here is the link to the new Type Analysis 2018

And here again is his Free-response Index by topic


And Finally

As I’m sure you are aware, the College Board makes past exams available to teachers to use in their class as assignments, on quizzes and tests, and as good review material for the AP exams. To keep students from seeing them the exams are made secure and available only to teachers with an audit for the course. Teachers are not allowed to post them anywhere on-line, even their own web page. They may not let students take them from their classroom.

Alas, the exams are available on-line; students can find them.

The College Board takes this seriously; it is a violation of the College Board’s copyright. The CB’s lawyers contact the person or group who posted them and make them take them down. But more exams pop up. Please, follow the rules and do not post anything. If you or your students do find a secure exam (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, or 2017) please send the URL to me at lnmcmullin@aol.com and I’ll send it to the CB. You may also send it directly to the CB at copyrightviolations@collegeboard.org.

I have little faith that this will keep the exams off-line or keep students from finding them. To that end I refer you to a suggestion I made in a previous post, A Modest Proposal: Don’t count the exams for any sort of grade. Use them only to help students find out what they do not understand.

Schedule of the review notes and questions by type. 







2 thoughts on “A Few More Things

  1. Thank you so much for all of your posts! I especially thank you for your MC and FRQ list by topics. It makes it so much easier for me to help prepare my students for the exam. I appreciate the time you give to all of us Calc teachers….my sincerest gratitude!


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