Keeping College Ready

Madalynn Owens, Yearbook Editor

The past couple of weeks at Battle have been filled with a flurry of anxious students hustling to get their course requests in. Talk of graduation requirements, study halls and AP or honors classes were heard throughout the hallways.

This year an honors option is offered for almost every course available while AP courses are offered in science, math, social studies, English, foreign languages, and the arts. AP stands for advanced placement and is a college level course taught in the high school classroom. AP courses have the option to take a test for college credit at the end of the year. Honors simply means the curriculum goes more in depth in than a general course.

The way that CPS approaches eligibility for AP and even honors courses is unique in that there are no prerequisites, teacher recommendations, or grade requirements to take an AP class. If you want to take an AP class all you have to do is write down the class on your schedule and then you are officially an AP student.

Considering that AP classes are college level courses regardless of being taken in high school, concepts still have to be taught at a quicker pace than in the normal level course. Students and faculty at Battle have varying opinions on how accessible AP and honors courses should be.

AP World History teacher Mr. Corrigan says that when he was in high school teacher recommendations were an important part of getting into an AP class. Today, as an AP teacher, Corrigan says, “Anyone willing should be able to take an AP class if they wish, but they should be aware that it comes with extra reading, extra writing, and harder workloads.”

This general idea is shared by many of the teachers at Battle especially the ones who teach an AP class. Brett Henry, a sophomore student at Battle who is enrolled in Mr. Corrigan’s AP World History class and other honors courses, said he took AP because he enjoyed the environment of these classes. “The students actually want to learn and the teachers are passionate about the topic and do anything they can to help you learn,” said Henry. When asked if he thinks there should be a GPA requirement for taking an AP class Henry immediately responded that it would be unfair to limit people because of their grades.

Riley Cole is a freshman who was enrolled in many honors classes and no AP courses until sophomore year. Cole said he would pursue an AP class more if there was an entry test to get in, that way you would get a general idea if you would be in way over your head or if you can adjust to the larger workload. “I feel like if you’re at that level you should have some of those certain skills already,” said Cole. When asked about the GPA requirement, he agreed with Brett that it would be unfair because someone may not excel at English and that might be lowering their GPA, but that shouldn’t restrict them from taking an AP math class.

Many AP students are concerned about the AP test at the end of April, which if they pass would qualify them for free college credit, plus the smaller test fee. The tests are based off of their knowledge of the curriculum and often involve essays. Some students are worried that if people who aren’t ready for an AP class slow down their learning experience it will hurt their ability to perform well on the exam.

There are many ways to limit the accessibility of AP and honors courses, such as an entry test, GPA requirements, teacher recommendations or required reading levels. Any of these methods may eventually come to CPS, but currently the heavy push for education after high school is causing students who might not be academically prepared as their peers to enroll in AP. While it’s important to allow everyone to have a shot at higher education, it’s unfair to allow students who aren’t as serious to jeopardize others chance at affordable education.