Investigating effective teaching practices in advanced placement calculus AB: A qualitative exploration of student recounts
Jesse Ramirez 1 *
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1 Stanford University Graduate School of Education, United States
* Corresponding Author


It is evident that more qualitative research on Advanced Placement [AP] classrooms for students from marginalized backgrounds is needed to uncover how AP practices and pedagogies might better serve students who had been historically excluded from the AP Program. I asked my former calculus students (32 total – 22 participated) from my last three years of teaching to complete a survey that was developed with open and closed-ended questions to explore the student experience in their AP Calculus AB course. I aimed to investigate the specific practices and encouragements that are most impactful in helping students meet the demands of the AP Calculus curriculum. Using this AP program as a phenomenological study, my intention was to gain insights that could support educators in helping students meet the demands of a challenging course. I used a six-phase thematic data analysis to make sense of and create a report on the corpus of data collected. After conducting the thematic analysis of the coded excerpts, seven themes and a variety of subthemes emerged: Participants felt supported to meet the demands of the course; they reported that the extended class time provided the necessary duration to master the course concepts; they expressed value in the variety of In-Class Tasks; they found the Out-of-Class-Time Tasks challenging but helpful to their learning; they conveyed great benefit from the overall organization of the course; they expressed gains in transferable skills; and they described a variety of struggles or barriers to success in the course. The findings are presented in conjunction with representative excerpts that were extracted verbatim from the survey and indicate that an AP course should provide targeted support to be successful on the AP Exam, but it should also provide opportunities to develop deep understanding of concepts and procedures through a variety of modalities to positively impact students’ future success in college. The results are discussed in connection to relevant mathematics education literature and to implications and future directions of related research.



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