[Edu-sig] Could there be a new test, call it AP something else?

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon Jan 25 18:03:18 CET 2010

On Sun, Jan 24, 2010 at 6:40 PM, Litvin <litvin at skylit.com> wrote:

> What might this new exam be like?  CS with no programming and no math?
>  We'll see.  My guess is, if it eventually comes about, it will be a
> no-specific-programming-language exam, which will simply replace the current
> AP CS exam in Java.  I believe two AP CS exams will be untenable.
> Gary Litvin
> www.skylit.com
> In the interim, I think we should use the breathing room.  Here's an
opportunity for a local community to synthesize a new mix, without getting
into lockstep.

Innovation, not conformity, is what we're needing right now.

Let's imagine a math class, one that satisfies a year requirement, that is
not AP anything.  Think of Trig or Statistics, or even Algebra 2.

I like that MFTDA starts right off the bat with the traditional Algebra
topic of functions as mappings, goes over the concepts of domain, range,
co-domain, inverse function, many to one.  Clearly this is mathematics.

But then, because of our commitment to teaching "how things work", we don't
stay in the clouds. We start answering the question "what's this good for?"
right away.

We talk about reverse lookup phone books, mapping human languages with
Unicode, storing and retrieving data in tables (one-to-many, many-to-one,
many-to-many).  We make our topic real, concrete, applicable.  We write
little functions in Python, we talk about Python dictionaries as mappings.

If only our everyday Algebra course were a lot more like this one...  that's
what we're after in many cases:  a more fulfulling way to approach a lot of
the same topics we already cover, but in ways that haven't been updated in

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