Categorized | Education

AHS sophomores: World History pioneers

By Alex Lance/J-Line Writer ~

From freshman in high school to freshman in college.

This is the jump some incoming sophomores, who want a challenge, will have to take.

In the past, AHS offered two different levels of World History in 10th grade: Pre-AP, a preparation class for college-level courses or on-level, a less rigorous course. Next year, there will no longer be Pre-AP, just AP and on-level. A class called World Humanities, which combines English II Pre-AP and AP World History, will also be offered.

“The purpose of the AP World History course is to develop greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts, in interaction with different types of human societies,” states a description of AP World History from the College Board website.

The College Board is an organization that was started in 1900 to provide students with an easier transition from high school to college, according to the College Board website.

AP World History won’t be like any other social studies class students have taken, said Jennifer Dunn, ninth grade World Geography teacher. The teachers will be expecting a lot more from the students, including a more analytical thinking style. This is just one of the ways AP classes prepare students for college.

The AP program, which has been around since 1955, is geared towards helping high school students gain college-level skills. These college-level courses are offered in a friendlier high school setting. In many cases, students also receive college credit for each AP course they take, according to the College Board website.

The program offers 35 different courses from United States History, the program’s most popular, to Chinese Language and Culture, according to College Board: AP Central. Each course has its own guidelines, which are written and published by the College Board.

AP classes can be intimidating and not having the option to take Pre-AP World History is leaving many students with a hard decision about which level they should take, said AHS World Geography teachers. Some students feel that the outside work involved with an AP class is not worth the time and effort, while others are looking forward to the challenge.

“I am looking forward to taking AP World History because I feel it will be a good challenge without the cost of college,” said Haley Pocock, an AHS freshman.

The school’s ninth graders got a taste of what AP World History would be like when Wyatt Bingham, an AHS World Humanities teacher, gave a presentation about the course in February.

Bingham talked about the course curriculum and the detail entailed by an AP World History course. He also mentioned that students would do more analytical thinking, which will involve more than simply memorizing facts. The subject of “how much work?” sparked a conversation regarding the increased workload for students, including outside work during the summer.

Pocock has already made her commitment to taking AP World History next year, but is also applying for World Humanities. She feels this is just one more way she can gain on the competition for college.

Brittney Leone, also an AHS freshman, has different plans for next year. She has not completely decided, but is leaning towards taking on-level World History.

“It’s not just memorization; you have to really understand the concepts,” said Leone.

She is worried about the more conceptual and analytical thinking that goes along with a college-level class.

This brings up the question, “Are 10th graders too young to be taking college level class?” For some students and teachers, the answer is yes.

“I think most sophomores are too young for college-level classes,” said Dunn, “I think many are mentally capable, but it also takes a lot of maturity to dedicate yourself to an academic class and put forth the effort a college-level class requires.”

This is not the first time this issue has come up. Schools around the country are starting to prepare students for college at a much younger age. Two schools in Arlington County, Virginia have already started offering AP World History to their freshmen, according to a January 28 Washington Post article.

The opportunity to take higher level classes in high school is becoming more readily available to students as the years progress. The number of students taking AP exams has nearly doubled since 2001, according to the College Board’s annual AP report released in February.

Even though Humble ISD has been offering AP classes for many years, AHS will be the only school offering AP World History to its sophomores next year.

“Our school district superintendent has challenged us to provide our students with a more rigorous education, and AHS is meeting the challenge,” said Dunn.

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