Out of the entire student body last year, 502 AP tests were taken by 250 students, averaging out to almost 2 tests per student. Of those 502 tests, 90% of them scored a 3 or above, a passing grade, according to the Piedmont High School official profile. But do we take AP classes to prepare for college, or to get into them ?
In a recent article published by The Atlantic, “When the Value of High School is Exaggerated,” the author , Emily Deruy, argues that taking AP or Honors courses does not predict how well students will do in college. While these classes may be beneficial for some, students who are not prepared for the advanced high school classes and take them just to boost their GPA don’t reap any benefits from the classes, Deruy said. The same goes for students who feel pressured or pushed into the classes by classmates or parents: they don’t do as well or learn as much in the long run and they don’t do any better in college classes than students who didn’t take the advanced class according to the National Educational Longitudinal Study.
Last year I took two APs and one honors class. While they were enjoyable (most of time) and I learned a lot from them, I probably shouldn’t have taken that many. I know that I could have gotten a better grade in one advanced class, rather than the decent grades I received in three advanced classes. Yet I still took my three advanced courses, as did many other PHS students. Piedmont High School offers 14 AP classes and last year 83% of seniors took an AP or honors course. In a community like Piedmont, where not taking AP or honors classes is often frowned upon, it isn’t hard to believe that there are students who take a class because they want a higher GPA or a more “well rounded” transcript.
I don’t mean to discredit what students learn from AP and honors courses, the work can be very beneficial in learning critical thinking and analytical skills. But I believe that you shouldn’t take advanced classes for the weighted grade or for the gleam that it might put on your transcript for college, but rather because you are interested in the class and want to push yourself further in your education. If you have no interest in AP Biology or AP Literature, why take the class? Instead of doing the work to appeal to colleges, I believe that it is a better idea to build a stronger foundation and gain a wider understanding of the subjects that you are interested in.