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The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

The student news site of Trinity Preparatory School

The Trinity Voice

CON: Putting the Pressure in Advanced Placement

Caden Liu

When students see the phrase “Advanced Placement”, they often look past its difficulty and what taking a class of that caliber means,  and only see the status and grade point average bump that comes with the “AP” title. This is due to the fact that colleges are becoming more and more competitive, and require high academic success from the applying students. And this is one of the many problems students face when it comes to classes, as they only see this and not the pressure that is felt when taking these hard courses. Students (and sometimes parents) are so focused on being in an honors or AP class that they lose sight of the fact that it might not be the best option for them. As a result, students may either drop down to a different level or suffer with a bad grade. 

An article published in 2019 by the Washington Post explains that students, due to a myriad of reasons, may take courses that are at a level or rigorousness higher than what would be best for them.

“I feel that acceleration has harmed more than helped educationally,” Amy Tschudin, a mother interviewed by the Washington Post, said. “I would much rather have him gaining a solid foundation of knowledge and earning A’s and B’s than surviving with C’s and D’s in these push classes.”

Sometimes students enroll in advanced courses because of their own passion for the subject or because of parental or peer pressure.

“You have kids who are in the top 3%, and those kids are usually ready… despite their age,”said math teacher Michael Hill, who teaches honors and standard geometry. “It’s that next level of kids that just want to be with their friends, or their parents want to keep their kids where their other friends’ kids are.”

Even though it is entirely likely students can take classes that are above the normal for the grade and pass with flying colors; this is not the case for every student. 

As an eighth grader, current freshman Owen Raffa took honors algebra II, a class usually taken by sophomores. . Because he, at a young age, was already taking advanced math classes in elementary school, it resulted in him not being completely prepared for algebra II. To be more specific, Raffa believed that the math itself was not too difficult, but he was not prepared for the workload, and so he moved down to honors algebra I in order to go back to honors algebra II the following year. 

More students in Trinity also make the decision to drop down, but this problem can be alleviated in the first place if they started off taking the course that was the perfect academic-level for them. Therefore, if the school increases the minimum grade required in the math entrance exams, it will sift through the students and only admit the students that are completely ready for the advanced course. 

When a student drops a level, it is primarily because of workload. An article from journalist Christine Burke notes that the labor required for some classes – especially Advanced Placement – can be too much for students to bear. Burke uses her own son as an example to elaborate on this topic. She stated that her son stayed up four school nights a week until eleven at night to keep up with AP U.S. history alone. The amount of effort her son had to put into his advanced class forced him to stop participating in social events with his friends, and even drove him to tears some nights.

If students are struggling in a class that is at the recommended level for their grade, going up another level will only add more stress and pressure onto the student.

This is a day-to-day experience that Burke’s son does not go through alone, as this heavy burden and pressure has spread across Trinity’s campus and among our students. However, there will always be outliers. In addition to the students that may not be prepared to take a certain class, there will be those exceptional few students who may be able to succeed and take classes far beyond the norm for their grade level.

So even if there are exceptional students that are ready to take on advanced and rigorous courses beyond the status quo, there is still the angle to ponder if they should take the course even if they are ready. Taking an advanced course leads to students becoming stressed, just so that in the future, they can suffer more. 

By increasing the grade requirement in entrance exams and establishing a higher grade average minimum to be referred to take Advanced Placement classes, students will be less stressed and may not have to drop down or live with a bad grade. In order to promote the general success of the TPS student community, this is the best course of action.

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About the Contributors
Jack Aaron, Fact Checking Editor
Jack Aaron is a sophomore entering his second year on staff. He is the fact-checking editor and writes for the Lifestyles Department. When he is not competing in speech and debate tournaments, he enjoys playing tennis and collecting watches in his free time. Contact at [email protected].
Caden Liu, Graphics Editor
Caden Liu is a junior entering his second year on staff as graphics editor. When not busy with schoolwork, Caden enjoys playing tennis, listening to music, and watching TV shows like “Friends” and “How I Met Your Mother.” He also enjoys spending time with friends, family, and his dog. Contact him at [email protected].

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