What makes an AP class “AP?”


Of the appoximately 2,200 students who attend Leesville Road High School, between 15-20% of upperclassmen are enrolled in AP classes. The maximum number of GPA points a student can receive for an academic classes is 4. If a student earns an A in an honors class, they receive 5 points. What makes an AP class worth 6 quality points?

Having taken AP classes before, I know that an AP class requires more studying and more work outside of class than an honors or academic class.

“My goal for AP classes is for my students to have an equivalent experience of a college-level course. I try to teach the skills that students will need to be successful in a college class and by second quarter, I hold them to those standards and expectations,” Senor Ross, Spanish teacher, said.

A reoccurring problem between AP students and teachers is their difference of expectations. Teachers expect students to understand the material and be able to apply it to challenging college-level questions on tests. Teachers present the information, but it is ultimately up to the student to learn the material and be able to apply it to situational questions on a test.

Another issue is that while AP teachers are trying to prepare students for college, AP students’ motives for taking these difficult classes clash. Teachers are trying to create a college-like atmosphere, but students’ main concern is making sure they know how the teacher tests and how they need to study to earn the best grade they can.

“I want to boost my GPA, and taking honors and academic classes can only do so much. Getting an A in an AP class really helps your GPA quickly and looks good on college applications,” said Mallory Borris, junior.

If teachers’ and students’ motives are different, is that counterproductive?

Mrs. Tibbets, AP Statisitics teacher, said, “The problem is some students are lazy, and once they get into the classes, they realize that a lot more time and effort is expected of them, and they are not willing to do it. These are the kids that will come up with every excuse in the book to get out of the class, never admitting that the true reason is they are too lazy to do the work.”

There are lazy students who want “A’s” without doing the work in almost every class, but what makes an AP class different is that usually, students put forth more effort in the class to receive the “A”. Typically, AP students aren’t focused on the college-experience or pretending like they are in a college class. Teachers want students to do well and experience a college-level course, but students only care about good grades. The key is compromise.

A solution to this problem could be scheduled meetings between AP teachers, students and their parents to discuss common goals. Teachers can explain their goals and the students can explain theirs. Teachers must explain how to be successful in their AP classes, so students can receive the grade they want, but students should also keep an open mind about treating the class like a college course.


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