Students Push the Academic Standards

Few in the entire world can say that they have earned a 100 percent on the advanced placement final exam.  Calculus AB, one of the most rigorous advanced placement classes in school has almost always been juniors and seniors; however, recently there has been an increase of sophomores entering the highly advanced math class.

This year sophomores Dhruva Chatterjee, Conor Egan, William Wang, Chelsea Lin, Ben Sebastian and Saki Nakai are enrolled in Calculus AB. They sacrificed a part of their summer and free time to have qualified for the class. Three juniors are taking Calculus BC, Henry Li, Jerry Jacobs and Daniel Tang.  Last year they went through a similar ordeal that the sophomores in Calculus AB are going through.

“Most of us took an online Pre-Calculus class over the summer,” Chatterjee said.  “So far the material has been hard but it opens up my schedule in the future,”

They all have different motives for pushing themselves into such a challenging course.  It could be to open up their schedule, earn more AP credits, but it also gives each of the sophomores in Calculus AB a chance to take math classes in college by their senior year at places such as Clackamas Community College.  This may allow for an early Bachelors Degree in their subject area in college.

“I was thinking of taking math at Clackamas Community College but I think I might just take AP Stats at the high school instead. That way I can have an extra AP credit to add to my college resume,” Egan said.

Proof of an increase in younger students entering Calculus AB comes from Tina LaFerriere, Calculus AB teacher, who teaches five of the sophomores.

“I have noticed an increase.  Last year I had three sophomores and this year I have five,” LaFerriere said.

The increase of younger students in the past year is partly why more underclassmen have started to take AP Calculus.  More students equal more academic achievement according to Laferriere.  Another reason is that more of the students coming in are motivated to move into very specific subject areas, such areas that involve the knowledge of advanced math, such as engineering.

“I don’t believe age is a factor in student performance, but I do believe motivation is,” LaFerriere said. “If these students have the right motivation then they will do well in the class.”