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Maseeh Lecture 2011

The 2011 Fariborz Maseeh Lecture in Mathematical Sciences*

"Calculus in High School: Too much of a good thing?"

Dr. David Bressoud

DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics
Macalester College
Past President, Mathematical Association of America (MAA)



Place & Time: University Place, Multnomah Room, 5:00-6:30 PM, Thursday, May 12

Abstract: 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. We have passed the cross-over point where each year more students study first semester calculus in US high schools than in all 2- and 4-year colleges and universities in the United States. 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. This talk will present an overview of the history of 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.

Bio: David Bressoud is a DeWitt Wallace Professor of Mathematics at Macalester College and a former president of the Mathematical Association of America. He chaired the AP Calculus Development Committee (which sets the syllabus and writes the exams) from 2002 to 2005. He has served in the Peace Corps in Antigua, West Indies, and taught at Penn State 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.

David 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 Prof. Bressoud can be found at