Three-term classes to be a possibility for AP students in future

AP students cramming to get everything in can breathe a tentative sigh of relief; teachers are considering stretching harder AP classes from two terms to three, allowing students more time to cover required content. This proposal was first introduced last year, but the idea would require school board approval in order to be implemented. It aims to reduce stress in harder courses by allowing more time to learn the required curriculum.

Some teachers and students feel that this would be a vast improvement over the current block schedule, which involves learning a year’s worth of material in only one semester. It would allow for a slower pace in the classroom, giving students more time to learn and reducing the pressure put on them due to time constraints.

Students could also use the extra time to learn supplementary content, such as labs in science APs. Additionally, the third term would count for an extra half-credit, making the extended class worth 1.5 credits as opposed to just one. This third term would also take students right up to the AP exam, eliminating the need for a long period of self-study – material could be covered in class, where students would be free to ask questions and prepare with the guidance of a teacher.

“AP Chemistry is a lab based curriculum that parallels a two-semester introductory course at the collegiate level, so completing the content in one semester at BC is hard to accomplish,” said science teacher and department head Mr. Gryzwa. “However, the challenge of moving the course to 1.5 credits would make it hard for students to fit into their schedule”.

Clearly, the proposal would not come without some obstacles, especially regarding course selection in the winter.

Sophia Sun (‘18) added, “It’d be great for classes that are really dense in concepts, but it would be a disaster trying to fit three-term classes into your schedule”. The longer class would force students to fill up the remaining block with either a study hall or a one-term class.

Mrs. Fike, the AP Chemistry teacher, agreed, saying that “It would complicate the scheduling process for students and teachers.”

However, Mr. Twitchell, an AP Physics teacher at Brookfield East, argued that this could allow students to take more electives, since they would not feel pressured to fill up their schedule with all semester-long courses.

Even so, former Lancer Lily Chen (‘15) argued against it, saying that “Teachers worried about getting through material could assign more summer homework or hold more ‘review’ sessions between the end of the semester and May”. She also pointed out concerns about grade inflation; since AP classes are weighted by 0.025 per term, adding another weighted term to a student’s schedule would result in an increased GPA.

Despite the possible strengths and weaknesses of such a schedule change, this proposal will need deliberation and approval by the school board before a decision is made, making its implementation unlikely by the next school year. However, the suggestion is still a possibility for struggling AP students in the future who would appreciate the extra time to learn.