Precalculus prerequisite removed for AP calculus courses

TEA no longer requires class for higher level math


Hannah Tucker

Coppell High School students in Ms. Bourg’s AP calculus AB class work on their homework and classwork during fourth period on Wednesday.

In early 2016, Coppell High School published a new course guide in which both AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC no longer required Precalculus as a prerequisite course. Thus, starting from this 2016-17 school year, a student can progress from an Algebra II course directly to Calculus.

According to CHS counselor Shelby Wright, Precalculus was removed as a prerequisite because of an updated TEA (Texas Education Agency) requirement. Even with this change, Precalculus has not been removed as a class.

“[The counselors] still encourage students to take Precalculus,” Wright said.

Sophomore Manasa Gudavalli, who completed Precalculus before the prerequisite was removed, enjoyed what the class entailed.

“I learned a lot about test taking,” Gudavalli said. “In a class with hard tests, it’s really important to do well. I learned to study well.”

If the requirement had been removed before she took the class Gudavalli says she might have made a different decision.

Even with the requirement removed, some students chose to complete Precalculus. Sophomore Anusha Jain, who is currently in a Honors Precalculus, said she chose to take the course because skipping a course is a lot to handle, especially because she would be taking an Advanced Placement (AP) course.

“I wanted to master the basics before moving on,” Jain said.

Junior Pooja Chivukula chose to skip the Precalculus course at school. As an aspiring engineer, she contacted college representatives that told her to complete upper level math courses, such as Calculus BC. She realized she could take Calculus BC in one of two ways: skipping Precalculus or skipping Calculus AB.

“I decided that skipping Precalculus was a better decision than skipping Calculus AB,” Chivukula said. “I hope to gain better math knowledge and be prepared academically for college [by taking Calculus].”

Honors Precalculus and Calculus AB teacher Mary Jo Wilt said an important topic covered in Precalculus is trigonometry. From her experience, Wilt has seen the benefits of learning trig before taking a Calculus course.

“Students get another year to mature with their math skills and problem solving,” Wilt said. “There is not any extra review time in Calculus. It’s their [the students’] responsibility to know the material.”

CHS’s data entry specialist Sherry Brown provided some statistics about the course enrollment changes. Last year (2015-2016) there were a total of 444 students enrolled in honors and regulars Precalculus, while this year, there are 426. Last year Calculus AB and BC had a combined total of 287 students, while this year there are 379 students; the majority of this increase occurred in Calculus AB (169 to 289 students). There has been a small decrease in enrollment in Precalculus and an significant increase in enrollment in Calculus.

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