Do the Math: New Classes at Pres

Do the Math: New Classes at Pres

An increasingly common complaint of Pres girls has been, “Why don’t we offer as many courses as Bell? They have so many more cool classes than we do!” Well, your prayers have been answered — Pres is offering two new math classes next year!

Starting this fall, the math department will now offer AP Calculus AB, taught by Ms. Goldau, and Statistics II, taught by Ms. O’Keefe. These new classes could change math sequencing for rising upperclassmen at Pres. Specifically, the new Statistics class allows students to take a full year of regular Stats instead of taking the course as a one semester elective in the fall, and the new AP Calculus class gives students coming out of Honors and Regular Pre Calculus another option moving forward.

Stats II takes the Stats I class, currently offered in the fall semester, a step further by expanding on prior knowledge to learn new methods for data analysis. According to Sharon Goldau, Presentation Department Chair of Math, “Students can now opt for either a full year of Statistics or for a full year of Pre Calculus in their [junior or] senior year, or they can certainly double up with math to show a strong math resume on their transcript.” The only prerequisite for Statistics II is a passing grade in Statistics I.

AP Calculus AB is a happy medium for students in Honors Pre Calculus who feel that they aren’t quite ready for AP Calc BC but still want a good challenge. “The primary difference between AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC is the pacing of the course and additional topics covered in BC. AP Calculus AB… include[s]  limits, differential calculus, integral calculus and their applications. BC includes all the topics of AB, plus parametric equations, polar equations, advanced techniques of integration and series,” says Goldau.

Another primary difference between the two courses is that students who pass the AP Calculus AB exam may receive a semester of college credit, while students who pass the BC exam can receive up to a year. Because of the overlapping curriculum of the AB and BC courses, Goldau suggests that students choose between the two classes rather than viewing them as a sequence. “Juniors in AB would move to AP Statistics their senior year, where students in AP Calculus BC could move to Multi-Variable calculus or AP Statistics their senior year,” she says.

The math department recommends that students with a B or lower in Honors Pre Calculus and especially strong students in regular Pre Calc take AP Calculus AB.

Additionally, the Pre Calc courses may also be seeing some changes to accommodate for the changes in Calc curriculum. Kim Dang, math teacher, says that “Pre Calc will be a little different because we are using a new textbook,” but stresses that the classes will continue to prepare students well for upper level math.