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Lecture: David Bressoud, Calculus in high school--too much of a good thing?
Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 5:00pm to Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 6:30pm

WHAT: The 2011 Fariborz Maseeh Lecture in Mathematical Sciences: "Calculus in High School: Too Much of a Good Thing?"
Presented by David Bressoud, DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics, Macalester College, and Past President, Mathematical Association of America

Over the past quarter-century, high school enrollment in calculus has grown tenfold, from 60,000 to 600,000, and continues to grow at 6% per year. More students study first semester calculus in United States high schools each year than in all 2- and 4-year colleges and universities nationwide. In theory, this should be an engine for directing more students toward careers in science, engineering, and mathematics. In fact, it is having the opposite effect.

Bressoud's talk will present an overview of the history of the AP Calculus program, data on its effectiveness and the effects of this growth, and a description of the responses that are needed within our high schools and universities.

The Fariborz Maseeh Lecture in Mathematical Sciences is presented by the Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics & Statistics at Portland State University.

WHEN: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 5-6:30 p.m.

WHERE: PSU's University Place Hotel & Conference Center, Multnomah Room (310 S.W. Lincoln St., Portland, OR)

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: David Bressoud is a DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics at Macalester College and a former president of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). From 2002-2005, he chaired the AP Calculus Development Committee, which sets the syllabus and writes the exams.

He has served in the Peace Corps in Antigua, West Indies, and taught at Penn State University for 17 years. He has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota, Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg, France), and the State College Area High School.

Bressoud has received the MAA Distinguished Teaching Award (Allegheny Mountain Section), the MAA Beckenbach Book Award for Proofs and Confirmations, and has been a Pólya Lecturer for the MAA.

His other books include Factorization and Primality Testing, Second Year Calculus from Celestial Mechanics to Special Relativity, A Radical Approach to Real Analysis, A Radical Approach to Lebesgue's Theory of Integration, and, with Stan Wagon, A Course in Computational Number Theory.

More information about David Bressoud can be found at

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