Calculating Beyond Their Years

Daniel de Vise:

Some Washington area high school students are pushing so far ahead in math courses that Advanced Placement, the widely accepted pinnacle of pre-collegiate study, no longer goes far enough.
More than 500 students in the Montgomery and Fairfax school systems, the region’s two largest, are taking multivariable calculus, a course traditionally taken by math majors in their second year of college — at least in the old days. That means the students have a full year of college-level calculus under their belt before they leave high school.

2 thoughts on “Calculating Beyond Their Years”

  1. The Post had a good story by Daniel de Vise on students taking a second year of calculus multivariable calculus course. However, apparently the writer was not aware that some students take calculus even beyond that. Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring offers a fifth semester of calculus for students who took multivariable calculus in their junior year or earlier. When my younger son took this course in Fall 2004, there were actually enough students for two sections of this.

  2. Yes, there are schools in the DC area such as Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology where students are encouraged to accelerate rather than be held back with their age peers as the MMSD is attempting to do. The advanced math courses at TJ are taught at the same rate they are in college, i.e., with Calc I and Calc II taught as two 1-semester courses, rather than at half-pace as AP Calc is taught here in Madison. Thus, for mathematically gifted students who skip over middle school math which is largely redundant with K-5th-grade math, it is actually fairly easy to be taking Calc III, differential equations, and linear algegra while still in high school. TJ offers these college sophomore-level courses right in the high school, with the students able to take them with their age/intellectual peers without the need to commute to a college!

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