AP vs. Honors: Which is more useful?

Algeo Rosario, Reporter

In an effort to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) classes, next school year, the English department has elected to eliminate Honors English classes.

Honors classes cover the same material covered in regular classes, but at a faster and more in-depth pace. Honors classes are used as a mark for student achievement to show that they took a challenging course.

According to Washington Post, many mainland schools have already dropped honors classes because there was no need for an extra class in which the same curriculum is being taught. This can be frustrating for students who may not be ready for AP curriculum.

“There are several somewhat complicated reasons behind our decision to drop the honors option,” English department chair Andrew Jones said. “The primary consideration, however, is that we want to encourage more and more students to enroll in AP courses. We believe that eliminating Honors is one way to make this happen.”

Advanced Placement classes allow students to earn college credit, if students pass the class and score a three or more on the AP exam. Students can also experience the acceleration and depth similar to what they would go through in college taking that same course. It also shows colleges that a student is willing to challenge themselves. Depending on which AP classes students take and what score they get on their exams, in college, students can earn college credit. According to CollegeBoard.org, as of 2012, over two million students have taken Advanced Placement classes.

“There are many benefits of taking AP courses,” Mr. Jones said. “The most important is that AP courses are essentially college courses offered in high school, so, by taking AP courses during their junior and senior years, high school students are getting a taste in advance of what the college experience will be like.”

“Students will be more prepared once they get to college by having already taken what are essentially college courses in high schoo,” said Mr. Jones. “In addition to this first, most important benefit, a few others would include: a) ability to place out of college courses by having received a qualifying score on the exam for the AP equivalent; b) possibly saving money (the credit you get for AP courses will allow you to graduate with fewer college credits); c) getting ahead in areas in which you hope to specialize; and, d) frequently greater level of challenge and interest than regular high school courses.”

However, students can go to college and graduate without having taken AP classes. Many people go to college without an AP background in high school, graduate and go on to obtain successful careers.  There’s always the stress and workload the students get when taking AP classes. One-third of high school graduates took at least one AP exam, only one out of five end up passing. It’s always a hard decision of whether student’s should take AP because of the difficulty.

This, however, isn’t a problem for senior Becca Wood. She’s been taking  AP Calculus, AP Literature, AP Biology, and AP Government since her sophomore year.

“I love AP classes. It’s the best decision you can make in high school,” Wood said. “It’s challenging and the workload is insane, but the education and learning experience that comes with it is worth it. The best teachers are AP teachers.”