College Board Introduces AP Precalculus

Anthony Amella, Writing Staff

On May 17th, the College Board announced a course framework for their next AP course: AP Precalculus. This announcement is a relatively strange one from the College Board- an AP that is directly superseded by another AP class. As such, this decision has come with a fair share of controversy. The slated purpose of AP courses is to provide students with college credit, but colleges do not typically provide credit for precalculus courses. Additionally, it is very unclear how this course could fit in with the already established precalculus curriculum at
Whitney Young.
As it stands, Whitney Young has three precalculus offerings; regular precalculus, honors precalculus, and honors precalculus BC, with students in the latter two typically preparing to take AP Calculus AB and BC, respectively. The proposed framework, which can be found at, contains skills not thoroughly covered in honors precalculus, such as vector functions and polar coordinates, while also falling short of the proofs and problem-solving taught in honors precalculus BC.
On paper, AP Precalculus provides a more standardized precalculus curriculum for students across the country, but it does not align clearly with the offerings at Whitney Young. This presents a clear dilemma for students choosing which precalculus course to take, potentially being forced to decide between earning college credit and having a more rigorous curriculum. When asked how students could face this decision, a current senior and former student of precalculus BC said “It will not replace (precalculus BC) because (Mr. Kang’s) curriculum is superior.” Whatever the case may be, all we can do is hope this move by the CollegeBoard will not come at the expense of students’ understanding.