Opinion: Work Should Be Required Over Break

By Paige Jaenicke, Sports Editor / Staff Writer

The AP curriculum, aside from its reputation of rigor and difficulty that proceeds it, is made up of a multitude of college-level courses and concepts that require a timely flow of coursework in order to successfully prepare students for the exams in the spring. Not only do the classes consist of assignments and assessments throughout the summer months, but generally a small portion of work is expected from students over the winter and spring break periods.  This allows for the classes to continue pushing forward with reviewing new topics while not overwhelming any students to such an extent that they cannot perform well- both on the exam as well as on basic formative assessments.

AP Students were hard at work in the engineering lab to create structures. (Photo courtesy of Trinity Hall Staff)

If AP work was not required during break, classes would fall behind and not be able to complete the entire course load before early May.  It would be incredibly stressful for students to essentially “rush” through information, as it is likely that the concepts will not be retained.  Also, since most students aim to receive either a four or five on the exam in hopes that the credit will be transferred into college, timely preparation is the key to their success.

“It is important to me to do well on the AP exam because I can earn college credits that will help me in the future,” said Camila Monzon, a junior at Trinity Hall. “I am also still getting grades that may pose as a reflection of how well I do later on, including whether or not my GPA is impacted.”

During the two weeks off (sometimes even longer), it is common for students to fall out of practice with their academic routines.  Sleeping in, having no assignments due, no studying- it all contributes to an even more difficult time adjusting to the norm of coming back to school later on.  However, if even a few simple assignments are designated for completion during the time off, it helps students remain intact with their studies, making sure that little to no information is  lost as they step away from the chaos of the Schoology calendar for a brief period of time.

“I think that AP work is important to have over break, even though it may be annoying to have to get some of it done during your time off,” said Junior Julia Difeo.  “You don’t really want to fall behind too much once you get back to school.”

AP students worked through historical topics on the board to define terms and provide examples for their peers. (Photo courtesy of Trinity Hall Staff)

Stress levels are also a notable concern for students and teachers, particularly at prestigious schools such as Trinity Hall, where grades often fall as a source of validation and thus an area of apprehension for so many.  Stress is increased when students feel as though they have not fully grasped a subject and fear for any sort of assessment in which their inadequate understanding will prevent them from doing well.  The AP curriculum can be very dense, so equal attention to challenging concepts is necessary to get through the course as a whole. 

“There is so much content that it is challenging to get through, especially in AP Bio, so having the break as a time,” said Mrs. Brees, AP Biology teacher at Trinity Hall.  “It helps provide more time in class to get to more of the difficult topics done and reviewed while we are in person. Independent work with some of the easier, self-explanatory concepts during the summer and breaks throughout the year can help us stay on track for the exam and curriculum in general.”

All in all, AP work should be a requirement for student during the winter and spring breaks as well as over the summer as it is essential for completion of every unit with a sufficient retaliation of the concepts in preparation for the exams in early May.

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