Up for the Challenge

Students must decide between levels of classes

Marissa Beaver, Reporter

One of a student’s biggest decisions in school is choosing the classes they are going to take the next year. Students have the opportunity to take higher or lower classes which include AP, honors, or on-level. This is mostly a decision that is up to all students and allows them to make their own decision of level of difficulty and workload. Though this is a personal decision, other people such as teachers and peers could persuade students or be involved in this decision.

There are multiple people involved in this decision making including teachers, students, and other important staff. Although students ultimately make the decision of class level for themselves, teachers can be involved by recommending a class or talking with students about their options. Jody Spriggs, the chairman for the art department and teacher of both AP and Art 1:Foundations, talks to her students about what classes she recommends for them and listens to their ideas about their decision to be in a higher or lower level class for the next year. “There needs to be an interest or a passion or some kind of commitment to the subject they are taking,” said Spriggs.

One big factor in choosing a higher or lower level class is the workload. Sophomore, Callie Brinkman takes AP World History/English 10 Honors as well as her on-level algebra 2 class. “The biggest difference is probably the workload and what you have to do outside of class.” Brinkman said. “AP is fast-paced and if you get behind it is hard to catch up.” She expresses that an AP class overall requires a lot more work which will cause you to be a lot more involved in class.

Sophomore Mia Contreras is not taking an AP class this but instead is taking many honors classes as well as on-level classes. Contreras also agrees that the workload is one of the largest differences between an honors and on-level class, “In my regular class I don’t have any homework and in honors I have homework every night.”

Likewise to Brinkman and Contrears, Spriggs also thinks the workload of a class is a big difference. “The most obvious difference would be the workload, the level of commitment and work that a student needs to make outside of class time,” Spriggs stated.

Choosing higher or lower level classes can be a difficult decision to make and could be made more clear by talking to others about your choices. Spriggs is a teacher who thinks talking with students is important, especially for decisions like this.

“There needs to be an interest or a passion or some kind of commitment to the subject they are taking.” Says Spriggs. “I think both parties should be involved in that decision.”

Although both teachers and students should be involved, Spriggs thinks that ultimately it is a students choice. “I would have to side with the students, that is their educational future and that’s a decision they’re making.”

An AP class has similar characteristics to a college class because of the note-taking and exam at the end of the year. As a student, you have to decide if you want to get this early start or not.

“I would love to see more students taking those AP classes.” Spriggs expressed. “We don’t want the first time students experience challenge to be outside of the high school structure.”

In high school there is more support from many different people like teachers, other students, staff and parents so this could allow you to get a better start.

Some students decide to take on the challenge of an AP class to find out they do not enjoy this environment and will not take that level class the following year. Brinkman said she will take more regular classes next year because of her activities outside of school that she enjoys. Contreras will continue to take honors classes for the challenge but not AP. Choosing between a higher or lower class is an important and difficult decision for students who can receive advice or help from teachers and their peers.