The AP Calculus Exam Reading Experience: Implications for Teacher Classroom Practice and Student Comprehension




Corcoran, Mimi

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This dissertation explores the views and experiences of high school calculus teachers and college mathematics professors on the professional development which occurs at the annual national AP Calculus exam grading. This professional development experience comes in several forms: the exam briefing sessions, the actual reading of the exams, the collegial interactions, and the optional evening sessions which include formal professional development, which are offered several evenings during the reading week. Second, this study examines the impact which this professional development has on high school teachers’ and professors’ classroom practice, as reported by participants. Third, the study addresses changes which results in their students’ achievement in Calculus, as perceived by the educators. Fourth, the goal of the study is to develop a working level grounded theory of how the varied aspects of the exam reading influence teacher knowledge, classroom practice, and teachers’ perceptions and observations of the influence of their reading experiences on their students’ comprehension of calculus. Data on was collected through an online survey in which both high school teachers and college professors who serve as AP Calculus exam readers voluntarily participated and for which their identities were anonymous. A second data collection was executed through 17 telephone interviews with volunteers from the participant pool. Data were analyzed through descriptive statistics, qualitative commentary, and χ2 analysis when possible.



Teacher education, Secondary education, Mathematics, Advanced Placement, AP Calculus, AP exam reader, Mathematics Education, Teacher Education, Teacher Professional Development