The annual AP Calculus Panel Discussion at the NCTM Annual meeting was held on Saturday April 28, 2018. The principal speaker was Stephen Davis, the chief reader for calculus. Stephen has made his slides available for anyone who is interested. The slides are here http://www.ncaapmt.org/archive/crTalks/nctm-apr2018-notes.pdf .
The items highlighted in blue are the ones Stephen discussed in detail. Thank you to Stephen for making them available to everyone. The last slide for each of the 9 questions contains comments on the scoring of the question.
Here are a few notes I took at the meeting about specific problems from the 2017 operational (Main US) exam:
- AB3/BC3 (d) Avoid words like “pointy” it is better to discuss the one-sided limits.
- AB4/BC4 (b) Students need to be able to jump into the middle of the problem. Some students solved the differential equation, then differentiated the answer to get to the equation that was given.
- AB5 Sign charts appear on the standards. This is not a change; sign charts are excellent ways to organize information. However, sign charts should not be used as justifications; readers want students to write about what they the sign chart tells them.
- AB 6 (d) Justify by showing (saying) that the hypotheses of the theorem or definition are met.
- BC 2 (c) Students had trouble understanding that w(theta) = g(theta) – f(theta) was. They seemed not to understand what g and w represented graphically.
- BC 5 (d) Either the integral test or the limit comparison test may be used. Students need to state the conditions of whichever test they use.
- Communication is becoming more important in all questions.
Teachers should look at and study the “Chief Reader Report” that is available for each exam on the same page as the questions and scoring standards at AP Central. The sample student responses are also helpful in understanding what is and is not a good response.