Finally, as my last note in this series of articles before students sign up for next year’s classes, I would like to remind everyone of an article I posted here back on March 4th, 2017. Newer high school students have probably not seen this article:
How to Get in to Harvard
It references an article written by another author who is a very intelligent, talented, and driven Chinese-American who “graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and earned two perfect scores on the SAT (1600 in 2004, and 2400 in 2014) and a perfect score on the ACT.” He says, “In high school, I got into every school I applied to, including Harvard, Princeton, MIT, and Stanford.” He later joined an M.D.-Ph.D. program at Harvard Medical School and MIT.
His perspective runs counter to a lot of conventional high school counseling, but I found it extremely interesting, believable, and compelling.
As with anything worthwhile, his article is a lengthy read. I list a few critical points in my synopsis which I urge you to read first before tackling his detailed text.
This question arose in a NextDoor discussion the other day. Students who will major in science, particularly the physical sciences, or who will be required to take calculus at their prospective college, should stick with calculus as I explain below.
I am posting this short note to alert followers of my blog that the controversy regarding the reported high drop rate in the Aragon accelerated math classes has been resolved. Additional information from a meeting I held on 2/15/19 with Assistant Principal Ron Berggren has been added to my earlier article Alarmingly High Drop Rate for Aragon’s Accelerated Math Classes?? Please be sure to read it carefully as it bears on a number of important educational issues.
The controversy first reported to me and expressed in the article title above has been resolved after I met with Assistant Principal Berggren. Please be sure to read my meeting report in the third Comment following this article.
Each year I receive calls for help part way into the new school year from parents whose children signed up for too many AP classes. I usually can not help these students because my schedule is already full, so I wrote the following article to try to stave off these problems to the extent possible. This article is an update for 2019 of my experience with AP Science and Math classes. Most of my students attend Aragon, but the cautionary notes in this article should also be considered by those attending other SMUHSD schools.
There were 95 more AP Physics 1 exams taken in the SMUHSD in 2018 than in 2017. This was a 31% increase, larger than in any other subject area that attracts a significant number of AP test takers. Of these 95 additional test takers, 47 or virtually half did not pass the test (score of 1 or 2) when a passing grade requires only about 40% correct answers! This may be due in part to counseling advice given Aragon students following the change of the regular physics program to the new NGSS standards.
Five years after the Next Generation Science Standards were released, many districts still do not have NGSS textbooks according to Education Week magazine. Another bold experiment in education puts our kids at risk…