In Defense of AP


Gillian Smith, News, Science and the Environment

As an AP student, I can’t help but notice the decline in our numbers. Subjects that formerly ran two classes now barely fill one. While low class sizes are to the student’s advantage, as they offer more one on one time with the teacher, it’s disappointing that the amazing opportunities these classes offer are not being widely used. Why is AP no longer the lure it once was?

Critics of the advanced placement program often cite lower grades as a reason to avoid the courses. While AP is more challenging (which is the whole point of joining an advanced course), it can actually improve overall grades. Advanced classes give students general study skills and work ethic that applies to other classes as well. Furthermore, most AP teachers offer opportunities to their students to obtain extra marks, recognizing that they are choosing to work harder and shouldn’t sacrifice their GPA for more educational opportunity. Research has consistently shown that AP students, even those who don’t take the final exam, have higher post-secondary grades and a lower dropout rate. Being used to the demands of a higher education setting before experiencing the significant changes of moving to university is bound to ease the transition. Furthermore, through success on an AP exam students can obtain credit for courses needed to fulfill breadth requirements, allowing them to focus on obtaining better marks for the subject in which they wish to pursue a career.

Advanced classes also improve the experience of high school. With AP, students who have previously spent hours of school time sitting around waiting for the class to catch up can finally learn at their own pace. They can delve far deeper into their subject of interest than any other class would allow, surrounded by peers who have the same passion. Advanced courses offer in depth discussion with like minded students, as opposed to learning with a random assortment of people who are only taking the course to fulfill grad requirements.

AP may be extra work, but its benefits are clear. Not all students learn in the same way, and thus not all students should be taught the same way. It is unfair that our school system moves at the same pace, leaving some students behind while boring others. AP is the perfect solution for the latter group. It isn’t for everyone, but it offers a remarkable advantage for those who take it. Come February, if you have a passion for a subject, find yourself learning faster than your peers, or have the work ethic to complete two courses in the space of one, don’t hesitate to sign up for AP. I guarantee it will improve your educational experience.