Despite the prestige heaped onto offering Advanced Placement classes and harboring students who get stellar scores on the affiliated exams, some schools have decided to forgo them completely. These college-level courses taught in high school require a heftier workload than their level and honors counterparts, and institutions like Beaver Country Day School in Massachusetts don’t think the inflated stress is worth the emotional and physiological toll. So they’ve obliterated the program, which they claim has no impact whatsoever on graduates’ eventual college acceptance and success.
Along with jettisoning the AP Program, some schools -- like the aforementioned Beaver Country Day School -- have decided to implement other measures to keep students from succumbing to stress. More low-key assignments, like shooting videos or writing songs, prove just as effective as more rote, lecture-based methods used in traditional classrooms. Other strategies include weekends with no homework assigned, improved communication between teachers so major exams don’t correspond with those in other classes and longer study and recreation periods. Once again, the school reports that these strategies improve the quality of life for their students without compromising their academic performance or potential.
Regardless of whether or not they work in a school experimenting with more stress-reduction methods, teachers themselves could generally do better when nurturing mentally and emotionally healthy students, especially those teachers with Advanced Placement kiddos under their care. Menlo-Atherton High School math teacher Jerry Brodkey practices empathy in his classroom, tailoring his workloads to maximize education while minimizing anxiety. Such a simple concept and awareness of his students’ lives beyond his calculus and algebra classes resulted in improved scores once AP exam time rolled around. Not to mention some seriously positive teacher evaluations mentioning how the relaxed atmosphere better facilitated learning and information retention.
Despite the prestige heaped onto offering Advanced Placement
classes and harboring students who get stellar scores on the
affiliated exams, some schools have decided to forgo them
completely. These college-level courses taught in high school... More