Change to the AP Calculus Exam Format

I received the following e-mail from the College Board today:

Dear AP® Calculus Teacher:

Beginning with the May 2011 AP Exams, the format of the free-response sections of the AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC exams is being modified so that Part A (graphing calculator required) consists of two problems and Part B (no calculator is allowed) consists of four problems.

This change in the free-response section format should not affect classroom instruction. In particular, students should use graphing calculators on a regular basis so they become adept in their use. Students should also have experience with the basic paper-and-pencil techniques of calculus and be able to apply them when technological tools are unavailable or inappropriate. The Development Committee believes that the change in exam format will help the AP Calculus Exams more accurately represent the broad range of calculus topics and concepts that need to be assessed.

The free-response section of each exam consists of six problems in 90 minutes. Part A consists of two problems in 30 minutes and Part B consists of four problems in 60 minutes. Please read the “Use of Graphing Calculators” section on pages 12-16 of the new AP Calculus Course Description, effective fall 2010, for a full description of the change.

The AP Program

It will be interesting to hear the rationale behind this decision when and if it is given.


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