According to the popular saying, too much of a good thing is a bad thing; take power, cookies and possibly the addition of AP classes as examples. In the coming years, Pine View is looking to expand the number of AP courses offered to students and plans to introduce the advanced classes to younger grades.
Because they will potentially have the chance to earn more college credits, students see the addition of new AP courses as a positive opportunity. Eventually, even ninth-graders may be able take courses that were previously only offered in higher grades, such as AP World History. The new AP courses will also benefit older students, with new options that can better fit their personal interests. Some of the classes offered include AP Spanish Literature, with the future looking towards programs like AP Research.
Based upon a report by the Center for School Change, conducted in 2004, students who complete dual enrollment courses in high school were more likely to attend college and complete an Associate’s degree or higher within six years. This study, which collected information across thousands of Texas high schools, found that students who earned college credits were nearly 50 percent more likely to earn a college degree from a Texas university within six years than students who did not take any AP or duel enrollment classes. This result was nearly identical across racial and socioeconomic groups.
However, Pine View is not like the high schools which were featured in this study. The overwhelming majority of our graduating twelfth-graders will attend college and pursue at least a basic degree. As a school, we do not grapple with the issue of a lack of motivation.
Far more frequently, we are confronted with over-scheduling and overreaching. When presented with an academic challenge, most students like to believe that they can rise to the occasion, even when they are already overburdened. Without any outside influence, we have a tendency to overwhelm ourselves.
This is why Administration must be careful when encouraging students to pile on more, harder, classes. It is somewhat unfortunate that the school has so little motivation to invoke that caution. As the number of students in AP courses increases, the school receives a larger sum of money to spend on the school. This bonus is a definite benefit to the change, but it should remain as just that: a bonus. Furthermore, the school’s ranking- something which we all do take pride in- is decided in part by the number of AP classes offered by the school and taken by students.
So while the announcement of new AP courses is good news, it brings us back to the age old “everything in moderation.” There’s a fine line between being ambitious and overreaching. Allowing younger students to branch out into a world of higher education and allowing older students the opportunity to fulfill more college requirements to explore more thorough areas of study is all well and good. But the decision for students to take these classes must always remain just that: the decision of the students.
a Staff Editorial