By Alexa Sadowski, Sports Editor
As students, we are encouraged to play an active role in scheduling our academic courses. When deciding which classes to take in the upcoming year, we are urged to comfortably challenge ourselves and take advanced classes in the subject areas we find interesting. For example, if a student wants more of a challenge and has a love for science, she should be able to take AP science classes, but that will not be the case in future years.
For the past few years, students who request an AP science class without having taken the honors level of that subject may take it, as long as they are able to maintain high grades and receive the recommendations of STEM faculty; however, a new rule that restricts students has been introduced: students must take the honors science class before taking the AP class.
This new rule would prevent students from taking all three AP sciences offered at Trinity Hall without “doubling up” in science (taking two science courses in one year). Doubling up in sciences has proven to be difficult as students are not only adding an extra course to their already difficult schedule, but are also losing a study hall. This causes students to have even more work to do at home. With this new rule, students will have to double up in science for two years if they have to take every science at the honors level, but want to take them at the AP level, too.
These past few years of allowing students who excel in STEM classes to take AP science classes without the honors background allowed them to not have to double up in science. This gave them another study hall to dedicate to that AP science class and give it the extra time and attention it needs. Since test questions in AP classes are from real AP exams, teachers cannot allow students to take their test home to do corrections (which not only improve the student’s grade, but also their understanding of the content). Consequently, having an extra study hall is needed in order to maintain a good testing grade. Additionally, a student can use that study hall to meet with her teacher for extra support in the content.
An honors science class in no way measures up to an AP science class as the content is not only more difficult, but new skills also have to be developed to answer AP multiple choice questions. AP classes are difficult because they are Advanced Placement, not because a student has not taken the class at the honors level. There is a deeper and more complex understanding required for AP classes that students do not receive at the honors level, which makes the material seem almost entirely new.
Moreover, students who were allowed to skip the honors level course in the past were expected to do additional work over the summer, when they have more free time, to gain the background knowledge they need to enter the AP course the following year rather than take a full-year of the honors course during an already busy school year. This policy, which has been in place for the past three years, is what the school should continue to use instead of burdening high-achieving and capable students with unnecessary additional courses.