Article Directories

Welcome to EduIssues.com, a site to discuss education issues facing the area around San Mateo, CA.  Please read the Welcome message for more details about this site.  All discussions are moderated as explained in the Welcome message. 

NOTE: My (Dr. David Kristofferson’s) tutoring site www.kristutoring.com is now located here following my retirement at the end of May 2022.

On this page below, you will find article directories of (a) the most important articles on this site, (b) the most recent articles in each topic, and (c) the Top 10 most read articles on this blog.  As of early July 2022, “Pros and Cons of the CPM Math Textbook Series” has been viewed over 24,000 times by readers from across the U.S. and around the world reflecting its controversial reception by parents and students.  Following the directories on this page, all articles are displayed in reverse chronological order.

I would appreciate your support for Eduissues by signing up for email alerts for new posts. This can be done in the right sidebar (or scroll to the bottom in the mobile version).  Alerts will only be sent when new articles appear, not for comments unless you also request the latter.  Your email address will not be released or used for any purpose other than sending you article alerts.

Most Important Articles for new Visitors to this Blog

  1. Raising our Children – American Society Reflects our Values and Choices
  2. SMUHSD Class Sign-up Time – Please Read This First!
  3. It’s AP ex(sc)am time again!
  4. Never Believe Educational Experts (or Me)!
  5. Reducing the Achievement Gap
  6. “Mutual Assured Destruction”
  7. Critical School Reopening Issues from the SMUHSD Board Meeting
  8. My SMUHSD Board Report on NGSS – A Lot of People of Good Will Trying to Deal with a Tough Problem
  9. Will “Online Learning” Work?
  10. Info from UC Berkeley confirms why students should not skip from Precalculus to Calculus BC
  11. Pros and Cons of the CPM Math Textbook Series
  12. Why Can’t We Teach Mathematics Properly?
  13. A Hole in the Aragon Math Curriculum
  14. How Students are “Accelerating” in Math at Aragon
  15. How to Interest Kids in Science, Engineering, and Math
  16. How to Get in to Harvard

Recent Topics

(Click on any topic title below for all articles in that category in reverse chronological order – only the most recent or important articles are listed below)

Current Topics

  1. “Thank You for Being Late”
  2. San Mateo County COVID-19 Data One Month After Reopening
  3. Healing our Country – Bring Back the Fairness Doctrine

Education News

  1. Reducing the Achievement Gap
  2. The Battle Over the California Math Framework Revision
  3. ALERT – “Draft California Mathematics Framework Shortchanges STEM”
  4. The Local Math Wars Begin *Again* – Part 2
  5. The Local Math Wars Begin *Again*
  6. “Private Schools Are Indefensible” and a Speech for my Daughter’s Wedding
  7. Critical School Reopening Issues from the SMUHSD Board Meeting
  8. Comments Following the 6/25 SMUHSD Board Meeting
  9. The Best Way to Resolve the Health Controversy Around School Reopening
  10. The Mental Health Issues Involved with Distance Learning
  11. Board Agenda Posted and a Letter from San Mateo High School Teachers to Parents
  12. Reopening News from the SMUHSD Superintendent
  13. Start Normal? Take a Closer Look…
  14. The SMUHSD “Remote Learning” Problems of Spring 2020 are NOT Indicative of the Future
  15. A Way Out of the School Reopening Morass??

Issues in Teaching Mathematics     

  1. Reducing the Achievement Gap
  2. The Battle Over the California Math Framework Revision
  3. ALERT – “Draft California Mathematics Framework Shortchanges STEM”
  4. The Local Math Wars Begin *Again* – Part 2
  5. The Local Math Wars Begin *Again*
  6. A Result to Inspire Women in Mathematics!
  7. Guest Article: Why I Oppose the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics
  8. Why a “Sage on the Stage” in a Classroom is not always a Bad Thing
  9. Senior Dilemma: What to Take – AP Statistics or Calculus BC?
  10. Aragon Accelerated Math Class Drop Rate Controversy Has Been Resolved
  11. Alarmingly High Drop Rate for Aragon’s Accelerated Math Classes??
  12. How Students are “Accelerating” in Math at Aragon
  13. STEM Class Issues from the 2017-2018 Aragon School Year: Part 2 – AP Statistics
  14. STEM Class Issues from the 2017-2018 Aragon School Year: Part 1 – Precalculus (with an aside on Multivariable Calculus)
  15. Pros and Cons of the CPM Math Textbook Series
  16. Why is 10^0 = 1 ???
  17. Why Can’t We Teach Mathematics Properly?

AP Class Crisis

  1. Help for AP Physics Students during the Pandemic
  2. UPDATE on AP Exam Uploading Issues
  3. AP Exam takers lost network connectivity in some cases !!!
  4. SMUHSD Class Sign-up Time – Please Read This First!
  5. Prepared?
  6. Raising our Children – American Society Reflects our Values and Choices
  7. 2019-2020 High School Class Sign-up Time – Please Read This Article First!
  8. Senior Dilemma: What to Take – AP Statistics or Calculus BC?

College Admissions

  1. How to get in to Harvard
  2. How the College Admissions Scandal was Uncovered
  3. SAT Test Prep Recommendations

Top Ten Most Read Articles

  1. Pros and Cons of the CPM Math Textbook Series
  2. Senior Dilemma: What to Take – AP Statistics or Calculus BC?
  3. Info from UC Berkeley confirms why students should not skip from Precalculus to Calculus BC
  4. The Battle Over the California Math Framework Revision
  5. Guest Article: Why I Oppose the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics
  6. It’s AP ex(sc)am time again!
  7. SMUHSD Debating a Change to a Quarter System?
  8. The SMUHSD “Remote Learning” Problems of Spring 2020 are NOT Indicative of the Future
  9. STEM Class Issues from the 2017-2018 Aragon School Year: Part 2 – AP Statistics
  10. Critical Warnings re AP Classes

Thank you for reading and participating on this site.  Together we can make a difference and improve education for our local students!

I also subscribe to and read a large number of publications about education and many other topics.  I use my Twitter feed to call attention to noteworthy items as well as new posts on this site.  If you are interested, please request to follow @kristutoring on Twitter.

San Mateo County COVID-19 Data One Month After Reopening

Our community is now a month into its reopening and slightly less than a month away from the reopening of our high schools. We can still screw it up!

Continue reading “San Mateo County COVID-19 Data One Month After Reopening”

ALERT – “Draft California Mathematics Framework Shortchanges STEM”

4/5/2021 – Introduction by D. Kristofferson:

The California Department of Education publishes guideline documents for academic subject areas in K-12 education.  These documents influence teaching practices and textbook publishers and are updated on a seven year cycle.  I was alerted by the author of the following guest article, Michael Malione, that the revision for the K-12 California Mathematics Framework document is currently in progress and that public comments are being requested on the draft now.

Mr. Malione has spent considerable time studying the Framework document and has written the critique in his article entitled Draft California Mathematics Framework Shortchanges STEM.

The opinions expressed in the article are his alone, but I share his concern that the proposed 2021 revisions may have a significant and very likely negative impact on mathematics eduction in California public schools. I therefore encourage readers of this blog to consider Mr. Malione’s objections carefully and respond to the Department of Education survey via the link in his article before the April 8th deadline.

Note added 4/14/21 – The first public comment period is over. The committee working on the draft document will review the comments received, make revisions to the framework, and then put it out for a second 60 day round of public comments in June 2021.

The Local Math Wars Begin *Again* – Part 2

This is a continuation of the article at The Local Math Wars Begin *Again* . The San Mateo-Foster City School District (SMFCSD) recently cited a research study by Burris, Heubert and Levin in the American Educational Research Journal, Spring 2006, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp. 105–136 which supports detracting middle school mathematics. I have devoted several hours to this paper today and posted the following comments on Nextdoor. I continue to believe that we need to consider other ideas to close the achievement gap besides detracking.

I’ve been going through the paper by Burris et al. for close to three hours today. It is a very detailed and qualified study and I am not completely finished but have read enough to relate some important notes to all of you.

First, I highly doubt that most of the people that cite this study have actually taken the time to really study it.

This does not mean that it is a bad study, but it reflects the myriad complications faced by education researchers, and the text is consequently loaded with required qualifications that make a careful study very time-consuming.

Here are a few examples.

First of all, note that the study was based on a single district in a small Long Island (Nassau County) community. They tried detracking middle school students AND placing them into an accelerated math track as Gene McKenna noted earlier.

Detracking started in 1995 for sixth graders. Six years of students were followed through high school – students from the three class years before the detracking and the first three years of students who went through the detracked program. The last of these students graduated in 2002.

Note that our country has gone through many changes since 2002…

Most of the students in the school district were white with “upper middle class incomes” and the article implies that there was a single high school with an “average enrollment of 1,100 students.” African-Americans made up 8% of the students, Latinos 12% and Asians 2%. The majority of the African-American and Latino students came from lower income families and lives in subsidized or government-owned housing. This is pretty different from our local demographics.

From the paper:

“The district developed a multiyear plan to eliminate tracking in mathematics at the middle school level (Grades 6–8). In addition, it instituted changes in teaching and learning conditions that school leaders believed would help all students succeed. These changes involved the following: (a) revision of the curriculum in Grades 6–8, (b) creation of alternate-day support classes known as mathematics workshops to assist struggling students, (c) establishment of common preparation periods for mathematics teachers, (d) integration of calculators, and (e) a revised mathematics teacher schedule consisting of four accelerated classes and two mathematics workshops.

The district decided that all tracking for instruction in the middle school would end with the sixth-grade class that would enter in 1995 and that all subsequent sixth graders would study accelerated mathematics in heterogeneously grouped classes. The superintendent and the middle school leadership team believed that the combination of (a) heterogeneous grouping, (b) a high-track curriculum, and (c) mathematics workshops would enable all learners to be successful without reducing the achievement of the most proficient students.”

So note above that the district started out with the belief that this method would work and did a lot to make it so:

“Students were placed in the alternate-day mathematics workshops according to teacher recommendations or parent requests. Workshop class sizes averaged eight students, and students were allowed to enroll in or leave the class on the basis of how they were doing in their regular class and their personal desire for support. All work in these classes supported instruction in the regular mathematics classroom, and, whenever possible, students were assigned to a workshop taught by their regular mathematics teacher. Approximately 25% of all students took a workshop class at some time during the year, including a number of high-achieving students who wanted the additional instruction.”

It is clear that this small district thought this process through carefully and devoted resources to improve the odds of success.

The researchers took the data from this district and analyzed it.

To place students into low, average, and high achievement groups, the only data that the researchers had to use was a national math competency test created in Iowa (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) and administered a single time in fifth grade.

Furthermore they had to deal with the problems of dropouts and people entering/leaving the district:

“Selection effects are possible, however, even in stable populations. For example, the inclusion of transfer students whose educational histories differ from the majority could bias a study’s results. A strategy for dealing with such effects is to include only data for the cohort members who have the most similar histories (Cook & Campbell, 1979). To reduce this possible source of bias, we included student data only for cohort members (entering high school in 1995–2000) in regular education who (a) were continuously enrolled in the school district from fifth grade to their exit from high school or completion of this study, (b) entered ninth grade between 1995 and 2000, and (c) had a permanent record folder containing all data of interest.”

This creates obvious problems with interpreting the data for the low achieving group.

The Iowa test mentioned above to define achievement levels creates an issue about interpreting data for the ill-defined high achieving group.

Overall, though, the superintendant and others in that district were happy with the results which is the most important take away.

However, the researchers note in their discussion:

“Nevertheless, it is important that further research explore the essential components of this reform. The district that implemented the reform is a suburban district that has allocated generous resources in providing support to struggling students. Fifth-grade stanine scores in mathematics indicate that students in the district earn higher scores than the national average, and the proportion of low achievers in this study was proportionally lower than the number of average and high achievers. Would the reform work in a district with fewer resources and larger numbers of struggling students?”

They do not know the answer to that question.

This study illustrates common problems with education research. The study is valuable in showing that one community attained the results that it desired. Such an outcome is not guaranteed without the desire to succeed, resources, and careful planning, and no representation is made in the paper that such a reform would necessarily succeed in areas with “larger numbers of struggling students.” This does NOT mean that we should therefore do nothing to help struggling students, but it does mean that simply detracking students in itself is not a magic bullet that will guarantee success.

I may have additional comments later, but this is about all of the time that I can spend on this today. I have not had time to go through the detailed data analysis, but am concerned from a first pass that, even though there was quite an improvement in the low performing group, the results still need detailed consideration.

For example, the “Seq II” high school math class in the paper, which is geometry, went from a 46% “low achiever” pass rate by 10th grade before the middle school curriculum change to a 64% pass rate after the change. Note that passing means a grade of >= 65%.

I don’t have the comparable “low achiever” numbers for our local high schools, but I would not be surprised if they are lower, meaning that this work might be a much heavier lift for local teachers.

The Local Math Wars Begin *Again*

3/27/2021 – A discussion began yesterday about a San Mateo-Foster City School District (SMFCSD) school Board effort “to get rid of the GATE program and all advanced math.” Nextdoor users who can access Baywood Park neighborhood posts can access the discussion entitled “The death of the San Mateo foster city school district” at https://nextdoor.com/p/Wtf3qFd5-J3w?utm_source=share&extras=Nzg3MzE3MQ%3D%3D

(Note – if this link does not work for you, please try cutting and pasting it into a new browser window. For some unknown reason WordPress is having a problem connecting to this link.).

I wrote the following response which I will quote here. Please read through to the end because the link to the slides has been made available and there is some controversy as to what was actually portrayed at the extremely long meeting. Stephen Floor on Nextdoor quoted the following from the meeting: “I want to make sure nobody walks away this evening with the idea that the district is proposing to get rid of compacted math. We understand the very important reasons that student want to accelerate in mathematics and the concern about getting to advanced math. We’re proposing to the board that due to the pandemic and related circumstances we really need to move to a heterogeneous math course and then engage with our stakeholders with what that would mean going forward for rising sixth graders in subsequent years.”

Unfortunately this comment was supposedly made at 5 hours and 28 minutes into the meeting…

Despite this comment immediately above, the concerns that I stated below remain relevant regarding reform efforts in mathematics education. There are several “progressive” influences that are currently impacting the California math curriculum.

I have been lobbying against efforts like these for years on my blog at www.eduissues.com. I call your attention to the following article


Jo Boaler is a Stanford professor of education whose work is highly influential in California. She is a strong influence on and is part of the group who is *** currently rewriting the CA Dept. of Education Math Framework *** so expect to see much more efforts like the above as time goes on if parents don’t get organized.

Parents can comment on the CA Math Framework revision through this link (or through the link on the CA Math Framework page entitled “Mathematics Framework Online Survey” if they obsolete the link), but note that the first page of the survey makes it look like you have to be an educator to comment. This is NOT the case. Just fill in your personal info in the required fields and then click Next to move on to the second page.

*** Comments are only being received through April 8th. ***

Note that Boaler’s research work is not without its critics. This is a hot topic so I will present Boaler’s case first followed by Milgram’s and Bishop’s replies. Both sides appear to have legitimate gripes, so your “homework assignment” is to read both carefully if you want to be informed.




As I mention in my blog article cited above “Never Believe Educational Experts – (Or Me)!”, California has a long history of educational experimentation fostered by places like the Stanford School of Education which one would think is a prestigious organization.

In Silicon Valley we like to think that bold new ideas are great. I am a scientist by training who went back to teaching late in the game after a long career in science, scientific software, and biotech. I was in on the ground floor of the Human Genome Project and managed the national gene sequence database (GenBank) for the NIH in the early 90s. I have always been open to new ideas.

Unfortunately education research has many problems as I describe in my blog article above, and the sorry history of failed educational experiments in California that have resulted in damage to children is lengthy.

I wrote my blog to try to warn younger parents of these problems so that each generation does not keep repeating the same mistakes. I hope that you will find this information useful.

*** I want to be very clear though, that the inequities that the reformers on the school board are trying to address are very real and require action too. Please be respectful of this fact. We need to act in a way such that we raise the general level of our society; not just fight for our own children. ***

My concern remains though that we can hopefully achieve that goal without injuring our most talented students.

My experience working with local high school students is that better students who are put in mixed math classes are bored and feel held back. This is largely because our society has become so divided by income levels that there is a chasm in education levels among students of the same age.

At the same time, the opposite happens for students who are put into accelerated classes that are beyond their capabilities as the blurb cited at the top of this conversation indicates. I have addressed this problem at length in other articles on my blog.

Please get organized and speak up TOGETHER now, but PLEASE also heed my other concerns mentioned immediately above.

In general I favor evolutionary change in educational practice. Abrupt changes affect too many kids and can not be undone. Kids should NOT be guinea pigs in educational experiments done to enhance the publication records of academics.

I’ve been told that Jo Boaler, originally from England, likes to end some of her writings with the phrase, “Viva la Revolution.” referring to shaking things up in math education. Proceed with caution…

This is a later comment that I made on Nextdoor.  Note that the slides for the meeting are available here: 7_2_MiddleSchoolMathProgramUpdate032521_0.

I skimmed through the slide deck (43 slides !!!). I am not surprised that this meeting went on till late at night. Slides 11-29 appear to be a “lesson” in Common Core Math, for example, probably intended to illustrate its “richness.”

This is another example of the problem that I often see at school board meetings. Administrators make up massive slide decks that people can not take in at a single sitting and then proceed to lose their audience. As a result, all kinds of misperceptions can occur. This is not my idea of good teaching technique.

I agree with Stephen Floor above that the slides do appear to show that there is still a path to Calculus in High School, but, not having heard the actual discussion, I do not know how much this was emphasized during the meeting. I have often seen slides skipped over quickly as time grows short and the Board and audience grows restless.

I DO know that Common Core has always tried to slow things down and delve more deeply into topics, and this has led to this exact same debate in years past. Common Core itself is a subject of massive controversy which has also been discussed in articles on my blog.

I will add a link to the slides in my blog article and add the qualifications above, but I don’t have the time to watch yet another five hour board meeting. Something is clearly wrong with this method of decision making.

NOTE – for those of you who are so motivated, the link to the Board meeting video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOKVK5VFzrQ. The meeting went on for SEVEN hours apparently.

NOTE added 3/27/21 at 9:30 PM: Gene McKenna has provided notes/comments on the Board meeting video on this topic at


“Private Schools Are Indefensible” and a Speech for my Daughter’s Wedding

March 20,2021 – This morning I posted a note about the latest cover story in the April 2021 issue of The Atlantic entitled “Private Schools are Indefensible” to the “Public Affairs” discussion group that I administer on our local Nextdoor site.

I wrote:

Never having traveled in those elite circles of wealth, I suspect that there may be some exaggeration in the writing due to the clear disgust with what is described, but I don’t know how much.

It does strike me though that this is the logical end of a system that rewards money over all else…

This is probably the article that justifies my subscription price to The Atlantic  for this year. I will be writing up a detailed response later for my education blog.


An interesting discussion ensued on Nextdoor and mention was made of a “landed gentry mentality” developing in our country along with references to the recent college admissions scandal which included people from our own backyard.

Regarding the subject of the influence of money in our lives, I felt that this was an appropriate time to share with the group a speech that I composed for my youngest daughter’s wedding in October 2018. The text follows below.

First, however, please note that this article is not the detailed response that I mentioned in the Nextdoor quote above. I am still pondering the article’s implications and am seeking other perspectives from readers before I write a response. After you read the Atlantic article, I welcome your opinions in the Comments section below.

Now for the wedding speech which, believe it or not, is relevant to the topic above. As it was not quite the appropriate time (plus a a bit late 😉 ) to give advice about sex, I spoke about the other big obstacle in many marriages – money. Obsession with riches has invaded many aspects of our society and leads to the behavior described in the Atlantic article.


Back in the early 1970s, while I was attending college at UC San Diego, one of my all time favorite movies was released, “Fiddler on the Roof.” I saw it on a truly enormous silver screen at the Loma Theater on Rosecrans Street in San Diego.

Little did I know that the girl who I would eventually marry lived just a short distance away from that theater, but I wouldn’t meet her for another decade and in a completely different city. That meeting would eventually lead me to this place today.

Why do I mention “Fiddler on the Roof?” Besides the memorable music, the picture it portrayed of traditional life being challenged by the powerful forces of modernity stayed with me, in particular Tevye’s haunting line, “… and because of our traditions every one of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.”

This phrase resonated strongly in me, a member of a generation brought up on Simon and Garfunkel’s lyrics “‘Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping. ‘I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.’”

Those in the audience who remember that time might also recall that biologist Paul Ehrlich was predicting catastrophe by 1975 due to population growth outstripping the planet’s resources.

Well, folks, we survived, and, looking around the room, I can’t help but think how blessed we are. Yes, now we are confronting other challenges like climate change, but I remain confident that we will find a way forward and that our children’s children will continue to thrive.

But this will be “because of our traditions,” not in spite of them.

We live in one of the most exciting and beautiful areas of the world, the Bay Area, which is home to Silicon Valley. This is where the future is being made.

We pride ourselves on being “disrupters,” exhorting knowledge workers to “move fast and break things.”

But humans need a source of stability and tradition in their lives in order to thrive, something that is not “disrupted,” and that is what we are celebrating here today, the marriage of Amy and David.

They are one of the happiest couples that I have seen, and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company. There is a wisdom in their relationship that almost makes me hesitate to give them any fatherly advice at all.

It’s a little late for me to give the “Sex Talk,” so instead I will address the other source of strife that many people encounter in marriage – money.

Everyone has heard the old saw, “Time is Money.”

I believe whoever composed this line got it completely backwards:

Time is not Money. Money is Time.

So many people, both husbands and wives, work very long hours and exchange their time for money. They have no time left for their families. Life in the Bay Area is demanding and expensive, and there seems to be little choice but to submit.

My advice to the newlyweds is to live modestly and not become slaves to possessions.

Unless you are the richest person in the world, there will always be someone with a bigger house, a nicer car, a bigger yacht, or a fancier wine cellar than you have. In my opinion, that is the road to envy, not happiness.

It is too easy to become trapped into devoting all of your time to paying for a lifestyle instead of living it.

When you work, you exchange your time for money, not just to pay your bills, but, most importantly, to ultimately gain the freedom to spend your time the way you wish to do so.

If you remember that money is primarily your store of time, you will not squander it, but invest it wisely for growth.

But, as with everything, one must strike a balance. Not only would it be sad to be a slave to possessions; it would be just as sad if one deferred consumption completely in favor of savings, and then ran out of time to enjoy it.

Finding that balance is your challenge, but, ultimately, time is your most important asset, and your money should only be a means to make the most of it.

So please raise your glasses and let me end with a toast, using the words from another, more recent, song:

“I hope you” have “the time of your life.”

Help for AP Physics Students during the Pandemic

A tip for mastering AP physics when teacher/tutoring help is not available.

Jan. 3, 2021 – Note to my readers – This is my first blog post in slightly over six months. After an extremely busy June 2020 spent dealing with issues concerning San Mateo Union High School District (SMUHSD) reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, in July I was preparing to go on a 65 mile backpacking vacation trip with my wife along a rugged segment of the John Muir Trail when I herniated a disc in my lumbar spine. This took me completely out of commission and left me in considerable pain and discomfort for two entire months. My adventures with the local medical system during this time are another story that I will spare you, but I am slowly recovering after doing physical therapy since September. I am finally exercising, bicycling and hiking again, but my loss of fitness was great, and it will be some time before I regain my previous level. The only good thing about the pandemic in light of the above is that I could work online and did not have to drive to my tutoring appointments which allowed me to continue to assist my students despite my injury.

The most common problem mentioned by my students during the pandemic is that technical glitches and other difficulties associated with remote learning are making it harder to finish the curriculum this year. It is more difficult to get assistance from teachers under these circumstances, and, in a challenging class like AP physics, access limitations are particularly problematic.

Many AP physics students rely on tutoring, but this is often an expensive proposition, and many families might not be able to afford the fees, particularly if a student needs several hours of help a week.

For many students who take physics in high school, AP physics may also be the first physics class that they have ever taken. If so, this makes their task even more difficult.

I long advocated that students first take a regular high school physics class before they attempted AP physics. Unfortunately once SMUHSD adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for their non-AP science classes, the regular physics curriculum significantly diverged from the topics covered in AP physics, and I was no longer comfortable making this recommendation.

The best recommendation that I can make to AP physics students under our current circumstances is to get a copy of the textbook previously used for regular physics in the SMUHSD. Below I will tell you how to use it to get a quick introduction to the material before doing your AP class work.

The book is entitled Conceptual Physics: The High School Physics Program by Paul G. Hewitt, ISBN-13: 978-0-13-364749-5. This is the edition used in the SMUHSD regular physics program prior to the adoption of NGSS, and students may still be able to check out a copy from their school library. It can also be purchased new or used on Amazon.

When a new chapter is started in the AP physics class, I recommend first doing a quick read of the corresponding chapter in Hewitt’s book. This text is much simpler reading and will give students a decent introduction/overview. Do the Concept Check and the think! problems embedded in the chapter text. The Concept Check problems are simple questions to make sure one was awake while reading the chapter section. If you can’t answer them, look back through the text in the section for the answer. The think! problems are quick tests of understanding with answers at the end of each chapter. Also at the end of each chapter, the Think and Rank problems are worth doing.

I realize that many students might immediately scoff and say that they are already overloaded with class work, so how are they going to fit in additional time to do my recommendations above???

My response is simple. If you understand what you are doing, your required class work will be completed much sooner and you will do better on exams. Too many AP physics students succumb to the temptation to memorize equations and other tricks to help them get over the AP physics hurdle. In the process their education suffers tremendously.

Finally, here is Hewitt’s short and simple dedication page in his textbook. It is a sentiment too often lacking in College Board AP classes:

%d bloggers like this: