New curriculum causes confusion

Claire Geare, staff writer

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The newly introduced Pre-AP program is intended to assist students in future AP classes and streamline writing styles, however, the curriculum’s transition into Cactus Shadows has caused confusion for many incoming freshmen, is costly, and has been poorly implemented by the school.

In past years, the first AP class many students took was World History and Geography. It was a relatively low consequence means to learn AP writing styles and testing formats and was primarily taken by freshmen. However, with the introduction of the Pre-AP program, many freshmen believed that Pre-AP World History was a prerequisite to AP World History. This caused many students to take an unnecessary World History course—which can dissuade students from taking AP World History since they have already gained their required history credit.

The most frustrating aspect of the curriculum’s implementation has been how poor of an effort the school made to explain the new courses offered. For example, in the school’s course catalog, the description for Pre-AP Biology Honors strongly suggests that college credit can be earned by taking the course with language used such as “doing well on the AP test allows individual universities to award up to 6 hours of credit. Coursework and homework are demanding, but completion of at least one AP course is now considered by college admissions officers as the single best indicator for a successful freshman year in college,” and even including a footnote saying that “**fees for advanced placement courses are due prior to the first day of class.” However, no college credit is awarded for the completion of any Pre-AP course.

One more downside to the new curriculum is the cost. At roughly 3,000 dollars a year per course, when multiple courses are bought, the curriculum can become very expensive. Since the curriculum is not proven to benefit students yet, this money should be contributed to more pressing campus issues such as the vaping epidemic, overcrowded classrooms, or lack of teachers.

While the integration of the Pre-AP curriculum has been rocky, there are some obvious, while still theoretical, benefits to offering Pre-AP courses. For one, the teaching of AP writing styles from an early age may help students with more challenging AP courses later in their schooling career and in college. Also, the curriculum replaces freshman benchmarks with a mandatory PSAT, encouraging students to begin studying early for standardized tests. Additionally, the Pre-AP program is certified by the College Board, and having Pre-AP classes on transcripts may demonstrate rigor to colleges.

While the implementation of the Pre-AP curriculum may be beneficial, the confusion caused by a lack of information given to incoming students and it’s costliness has given the program poor rapport with many students.

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