We learned last week that J managed to get a 5 on his AP BC Calculus exam, defying expectations about whether he'd be able to step out of his shoes enough to show his work. None of his practice tests earned 5s, and so it's very satisfying to see this one, especially as it bodes well for his potential to show his work in college-level math classes this coming year.

On the other hand, he only got a 3 on the AP Computer Science exam, which presumably means there's more work to do in making sure his programs (which he dashes off quickly, and which get the job done, but are often quite lacking in clarity) conform to specifications. Apparently, this is even harder for him than showing his work in math.

Except that there's another possible explanation for J's superior performance on the BC Calculus exam--and for his uncharacteristic eagerness to find out his score. It turns out that his math teacher had promised the class to organize a lunch at Dave & Buster's if they all did well.

And Dave & Buster's--you guessed it--has lots and lots of ceiling fans.

## Monday, July 20, 2015

### A.P. update: what does it take to show your work?

Labels:
academic distinction,
computers,
math,
tests

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## 3 comments:

Ah, bribery. For all they say about extrinsic motivation killing internal drive, I still thank my high school Spanish teacher for promising to buy me dinner (Spanish club outing at a Mexican restaurant) if I got a 5 on the AP Spanish test. Surely there is a place for occasional incentives.

In third grade my teacher had a math contest to see how many chapters of the book kids could get through in a period of time, with lunch at McD's as the prize. I remember getting through a lot of it and I remember McD's. I also remember getting into the next year's material and staying about a year ahead through grade school, setting me up up for algebra in 8th grade.

I absolutely love this, and I can't share it with anyone without first attempting to explain the backstory of a relative stranger known only to me through a single letter acronym.

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