Fixing the learning gap

Add a new level between Honors and CP

Opinion+Editor+Jeffrey+Dratch+argues+that+the+transfer+between+Honors+and+College+Prep+classes+is+difficult.+As+such%2C+there+should+be+a+class+in+between+to+further+help+guide+students.

Olivia Kardos

Opinion Editor Jeffrey Dratch argues that the transfer between Honors and College Prep classes is difficult. As such, there should be a class in between to further help guide students.

Jeffrey Dratch, Opinion Editor

Class selection time is just around the corner at Algonquin; soon, we’ll all be forced to decide how to spend our next academic year of classes. In some cases, students start off by talking with their teachers but are soon left with that horrible feeling of not receiving their desired recommendation.

The entire process is extremely stressful, as it furthers the already huge divide between students and teachers. So many students want to challenge themselves by taking higher-level classes such as Honors or Advanced Placement but might not have the grades necessary to move up from the standard College Preparatory (CP) level. At a school like Algonquin, where Honors courses in some subjects are extremely rigorous, some students may not have the means to challenge themselves.

The best way to fix this is by adding an additional class level right between CP and Honors. Not only would this new class level allow some students to further challenge themselves, but it would also create a better environment, where students take classes that are the right fit for them academically. 

Many teachers put emphasis on making sure that students are placed in the right class. As a result, moving up from a CP class to Honors can be extremely difficult, as teachers want to ensure that students are placed in the right class. Often, there are components required to move up, such as a minimum grade requirement and a teacher recommendation, causing some students to be limited in the speed that they should be learning at. 

Not only would this new class level allow some students to further challenge themselves, but it would also create a better environment, where students take classes that are the right fit for them academically. ”

— Jeffrey Dratch

In the course selection process toward the end of last school year, I was forced to move down from an Honors-level Algebra class to a CP-level Geometry class for sophomore year. After completing much of my current CP Geometry class, I feel like I could certainly be learning at a faster pace, and I would thrive in a higher level class. However, I know that being in an Honors-level Geometry class would be too fast-paced for me and would possibly worsen my learning environment.

All of this could have been avoided by creating a mid-level course between Honors and CP. While it would certainly be a large task for each department to add an additional course level to many of their classes, it would help students learn at the correct pace. Creating this new level might also encourage students to challenge themselves a bit more, or move down to a more appropriate level. 

In addition, this change might help create smaller class sizes for all levels, as students would be distributed into three main class levels instead of the current two. As a result, students would have a more individualized learning experience, while teachers would be able to provide each student with the resources they need. 

While the process of creating a new course level would be tedious on the school’s resources and budget, it would make for a better learning experience and give options to every student regarding how they would like to be challenged.