From the UDaily Article.
On the afternoon of May 12, students all over the world will take the
Advanced Placement (AP) Statistics Exam, seeking to earn early credits
in college courses.
A group of 110 students from 16 private and public high schools in
Delaware and Maryland had extra preparation for the rigorous test thanks
to an interactive practice exam session offered in Smith Hall by the
University of Delaware Department of Mathematical Sciences on Saturday, April 30.
The daylong event, in its third year, offered students a chance not
only to take a timed practice exam but also to receive feedback on their
In contrast to the real exam setting, students began with the
free-response portion of the test, which included inference, probability
and task investigation questions. The sample test was set up this way
so that teachers, who also signed up to participate, could practice
grading the free-response questions while students took the sample
multiple choice section of the test.
“We had a little grading party,” Bryan Crissinger, an instructor in
mathematical sciences and the coordinator for the event, said. “We
trained the teachers using the same free-response rubric that AP exam
He explained that this is valuable for teachers because it not only
offered them insight in how to prepare their students for the exam but
also enabled them to see how their peers graded.
“Teachers worked together and unlike the real exam, they got to comment on the students’ papers,” Crissinger said.
Once the students finished both portions of the exam, they got their
papers back along with an answer key and information on how to estimate
their free-response score. Students and teachers then had lunch together
in the Trabant University Center. The afternoon was spent in a
debriefing session where the teachers reviewed the answers and talked
about common errors they saw when grading the exams.
The day was designed to benefit both students who attended and future students whose teachers participated.
“My students came back very excited about taking the practice exam,”
said Mimi Payne, who teaches the AP Statistics course at the Charter
School of Wilmington. “They seemed to have a renewed confidence in the
material after the experience. I especially enjoyed working with other
AP Stat teachers from the area — we had great content and process
The sample exam was based on previous years’ exams; its creation is
spearheaded by Christy Brown, a lecturer in the Department of
Mathematical Sciences at Clemson University. Questions were written by
faculty members, including Crissinger, from 11 high schools and
universities around the United States.
Students who score well on the AP exam can earn college credit, but according to Crissinger that’s not its only value.
“This gives students a feel for statistics being something they’d
like to pursue. It’s a real-world taste of how to play with data,” he
said. “Data science is now all the rage, and AP Statistics offers an
entry into studying a STEM discipline as an alternative to calculus.”
The event, which was free of charge for participants, was funded by
the Department of Mathematical Sciences and by a grant from the College
of Arts and Sciences’ Delaware Difference Development Incentive program.
The number of students taking part at UD has more than tripled since
the program started in 2013.
Article by Mara Gorman
Photos by Doug Baker