Thursday, May 08, 2008

The AP Exam

Wednesday was the AP Calculus exam. My kids were psyched and ready. They were nervous. But, they were well prepared. All semester I tested them brutally. They never knew what to expect from a POd teacher test and they usually walked out of them feeling like they had been run over by a truck. No matter how many times I told them not to worry, they worried.

I stressed all term that training for the AP exam was like training for the Olympics. Their endurance was pushed to the limit. For the first time in their young lives, they were forced to think. No longer could they memorize processes and blindly spit back meaningless material.

Today I proctored the English regents, an exam the majority of my English speaking students took. They told me that calculus was a piece of cake, compared to English. The questions on the AP exam were far easier than the ones I had been making them suffer through all semester.

I feel good right now. I know I did my job well. There will be kids who only get ones and twos and will have to retake the course in college. That, does not matter. I told them all to feel proud. My 67 students accomplished more than almost every other student in the building. My 67 students know more math than many of the teachers in the building. Learning calculus is the fresh cake their mom has just baked. Getting a 5 is the added treat of licking the icing bowl.

While I am on the topic of AP exams I have three major complaints:

1. Teachers that are too lazy to do the work necessary to prepare kids for the exams.

Year after year, the kids complain about one teacher who does nothing to
prepare them for the exam. A few weeks ago, she had them playing "dress up" at a mock wedding. Although this might have been nice, it did not help with the exam.

Another teacher never introduced the tape recorder and CD player the kids needed to use on the exam. There were problems with the machines malfunctioning and the kids had difficulties they should not have had.

2. Teachers being removed from their classes the day before their exams to proctor a different exam.

I proctored the English exam today which was no problem as AP Math was given yesterday. The other calculus teacher had to proctor the day before his exam was given. His students missed valuable review and confidence building time.

3. Administrators that don't know how to follow directions.

The memories of the TI 83, 84 or 89 calculators do not have to be cleared before the exam. However, no one told Mr. AP and he sent someone to the room to clear the calculators. Teachers that teach the course are not allowed near the room so we had no idea that this was going on.

At least it is all over. Here is an e-mail from one of my kids. His grammar and writing skills are really quite good, so don't let this writing sway your opinion of him. Next week he is taking the AP physics exam.

Hi Ms POd, just letting you know, the AP Exam went well for me.
The test was overall fair.The Multiple choice with no calculator I didnt know a few of them and i omitted 4. Worse case scenario I get 6 wrong for section 1 plus 4 omits(28 questions).For section 2 multiplechoice with calculator, it was a breeze, worse case scenario 2 wrong(17 questions).For the short answer portion of the exam, it was fair. The hardest question would probably be the slope field one which for 2 parts i couldnt answer. I think for all of the short answer portions I wasnt sure of the answer for about 4 of the parts (6 questions, approx. 3 or 4 parts each = around 20 parts) but i think i did good, im not too worried.What sucked the most was that Ms. H walked around clearing the memory from all of the calculators, which deleted all notes and programs when she should have only cleared ram. Mr. G was talking about this today in his BC class.


Principal said...

My system offers dual enrollment classes where students get credit at the local Junior College. Now, we are having problems getting students to take AP. It really saddens me that some of our bright students are taking the easy way out with dual enrollment. One major problem, that you already mentioned, is that one of our AP teachers is yet to have one student make a 3 or better on the exam.

Pissedoffteacher said...

Our kids have both options. We have classes where they get college and high school credit--I teach one and we also have AP classes. The AP classes are more challenging and the kids learn more. Our brighter kids take them. Our kids also have the option of taking after school classes at a local four year college. Many do that in addition to AP classes.

Anonymous said...

Hey Pissed off,

What are you doing with your calc kids now that the test is done??


Pissedoffteacher said...

We'll cover topics that are not in the AB course but will be needed in college calculus.