Calculus, Statistics Equal in Schools?

By Kormanik, Beth | The Florida Times Union, September 5, 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Calculus, Statistics Equal in Schools?


Kormanik, Beth, The Florida Times Union


Byline: BETH KORMANIK

Advanced Placement Calculus used to be the only option for top high school math students.

With the addition of AP Statistics, students suddenly had a choice. But which to take?

When AP Statistics became available in 1997, some teachers and professors viewed it as the inferior course, said Dan Hall, chairman of the math department at The Bolles School. But that has changed.

"Through the years, statistics has developed strength and recognition, and currently I think that it holds its own in comparison to AP Calculus," Hall said. "That's why we feel comfortable saying to students, to the college you're applying to AP Statistics would be readily acceptable based on your interests."

Nationwide, more high school students are taking advanced math classes, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Education. About 45 percent of high school students completed at least one course considered more difficult than Algebra II and Geometry I in 2000, the most recent year for which data are available. That's up from 26 percent in 1982. The percentage of students who completed the most advanced courses doubled from 6 percent to 13 percent during the same time period.

Clay High seniors Matthew Forhan and Brad Schacht both are taking AP Statistics and AP Calculus this year. The differences between the courses were evident from the start.

"This calculus is more math, step by step, problem by problem," Forhan said. "Statistics has a good bit of writing."

"Way too much writing," Schacht added.

"I think they're pretty much as far apart as math and English," Forhan said. "They're not even close."

Calculus is a pure math course. Its skills provide the foundation for high-level math, physics and engineering courses in college.

Statistics is more about interpretation of math. Students learn about hypothesis testing, polling, sampling techniques and margins of error, said Elizabeth Allen, mathematics chairwoman and AP Statistics teacher at Paxon School for Advanced Studies. Most math teachers agree that students who plan to study math and science should take calculus, while those who plan to go into the social sciences or business should take statistics.

Allen suggested students should find the course catalog at the college they want to attend and see what students in their potential major are required to take.

"Most students are not going to be engineers or scientists," she said. "They are much more likely to be faced with a statistics class in college than calculus."

But math-oriented students who opt to take statistics instead of calculus can drive college admissions offices crazy, said Judi Marino, director of admission at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Calculus, Statistics Equal in Schools?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?