No More Facts

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No More Facts

Emma Sullivan, Writer

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Unleashed welcomes editorials from all students. If you feel strongly about an issue, please share your ideas with us Comments and response articles are encouraged.

Almost every hard working student strives to take Advanced Placement courses. It looks great typed onto college applications and provides a certain satisfaction when telling relatives, “Ya, I’m in AP Bio.”  Advanced Placement courses create an illusion that the students enrolled are smart, but are students actually getting smarter by taking them?

Staring at the boxes on the course selection sheet sophomore year, I thought I was required to take APs. That that was the way things were. Whether that is my own delusion or the feelings of most of the student body is still unclear to me.

However, I ended up signing up for an Honors history class for the same reason and though it drowned me in as much work as AP’s, the nature of the class was so wholly different. The curriculum was actually enjoyable. Instead of cramming dates inherent to Reconstruction,  we learned information relevant to understanding our world today. We develop our argument writing skills instead of memorizing the details of the War of 1812’s military strategy. In contrast, in an AP science last year, we took notes and memorized until our minds were numb. Though memorizing is an imperative foundation for the sciences, why can’t sciences courses delve deep into important topics rather than skim the necessary ones? Also, how are the AP’s helping instill integral skills into students? In AP Bio, we barely have time to complete labs and just now, at the beginning of second semester, we are writing our first lab report. Some courses have succeeded in incorporating such skills, like AP English. We write on demand essays and learn how to develop arguments quickly, but we also have to learn to answer ridiculous and obscure multiple choice questions. I believe that AP courses have sapped some of the essence of learning, focusing on feeble facts and neglecting the necessary skills students need to learn and practice now.

I believe that Bancroft must fade out AP’s and replace them with courses, equal in rigor, but triple in enrichment. Courses that teach students the skills to interact with knowledge. How to write a college level lab report and not force students to memorize useless acids and bases. It is unfair to let the College Board decide what is necessary for students to learn— that should be a decision personalized by the school.

However, straying from the reassurance of AP’s on a college transcript can be frightening (I have taken this under consideration as a junior completing the college process). But what is the benefit of taking an AP when you will probably have to retake the course anyway if entering a prestigious college? Taking AP’s have led me to question which is more valuable: memorizing pointless facts for a College Board exam or learning important skills that will yield success in college and jobs.

It is time not only for Bancroft to change their policy but also for colleges to recognize how AP’s are not creating as educated a future labor force as they could be. Sure, AP’s will help a student get through college faster. But, if students learn how to write and communicate at a college level in high school, they will go much farther in college because they are more practiced. Also, it does not make sense to memorize every fact because students will not retain them after walking out of the exam room—they can just look it up on iPhones, as if they had never learned it at all. Because it is far more important for students to learn to interact with and communicate their ideas, for the hope of the future, it is imperative that AP’s are faded out.

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