Students set record for passing calculus

July 1, 2008 6:12:54 PM PDT
Students at a San Jose high school did something they never thought they could do -- they set their own record for passing college-level calculus.

Sudhir Karandikar and his students from Mt. Pleasant High School in San Jose have been chasing a record -- to have the highest number of students pass the AP calculus test in their school district.

Passing the AP, the advanced placement test, will mean automatic college credit and bragging rights.

"A lot of hard work and a lot of crying and encouragement from my teacher," said Mt. Pleasant High School student Cynthia Babasa.

"Outside of class time the average kid here put in between five and 10 hours per week for two years," said Karandikar.

Before Karandikar arrived at Mt. Pleasant, only 47 students had passed the test in a span of nine years. But in one year, Karandikar managed to help 43 out of 51 students pass the AP calculus test.

He became so popular that last September, 104 students enrolled in his class. Karandikar even gave his students a pep talk on one of the testing days.

On Tuesday, they found out 91 students passed, short of the 103 needed, to beat the all-time record. But the school did beat the percentage record, 88 percent of Karandikar's students passed the test.

"Without everyone and all the unity that we had, I don't think we would come close to 91, so there was a lot of camaraderie in this," said Mount Pleasant High School student Henry Choi.

Now, his students are better at calculus and Karandikar achieved his dream of teaching calculus at a low performing high school.

"There is talent anywhere and in any neighborhood you go to in this country, there is a natural l talent that is there, but we as the public education system sometime don't know how to exploit that talent," said Karandikar.


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