Access to the accelerated Math track is limited

Access to the accelerated Math track is limited

Ian Laurence, Staff Writer

The advanced track of math classes as Schreiber should be more accessible.  If students did not take accelerated math in middle school, there are not very many opportunities for students to later join the honors track in high school.  This could have negative impacts on students that decide to take school more seriously in high school.  However, allowing all students to join the honors math track would also have serious consequences, because many students would take a class they are not qualified or prepared for solely to receive honors credit.  Furthermore, Schreiber already offers some opportunities for students to join the honors math track.  Therefore, Schreiber should make minimal changes or no changes at all to their policy of letting kids into the advanced math programs.

Students that did not take an accelerated math or science class as seventh and eighth graders are almost entirely locked out of the advanced track of STEM.  There is some option for moving to more advanced classes, but the cases are somewhat rare.  As a result, some of the students that are qualified for and want to take more enriching classes will be unable to do so.  This keeps some students from having the best possible high school experience, and limits them from doing the best they can.  Furthermore, despite the fact that some students are able to join the honors program in high school, many students don’t know about these opportunities and fail to use them.  

“If you don’t get into advanced math in middle school, it’s harder to get into advanced math in high school.  They don’t tell you what you need to know about going into advanced math for most of high school.  I only got the opportunity in junior year,” said junior Ariel Im.

Students that are not on the advanced track will have a harder time getting recommended to take AP or honors classes in the future.  For example, students taking Algebra II may have a harder time being recommended for classes such as AP Computer Science or AP Statistics when compared to students that took Math 10H.  As a result, they may be unable to take the classes they want to take.  The difference that taking an advanced class in middle school makes is unreasonable and unfair to many students at Schreiber.  To accommodate these students, Schreiber could possibly lower the requirements to take AP classes such as Computer Science or Statistics, or make it somewhat easier for students to join the honors track and get recommended for these classes.

Making honors math less selective may result in students that are not prepared for it taking it solely for honors credit for their GPA.  Many students are aware of the fact that taking an honors course to get weighted GPA credit could greatly boost their GPA, even if they struggle in that course.  As a result, many students would likely take courses they are not ready for and struggle through it just for a GPA boost.  

Schreiber already has some opportunities for students that were not originally on the advanced math track to join.  For example, if a student performs exceptionally well in their math class, they will be given the option to join the honors track in their next year.  Furthermore, Schreiber also offers the option for students to take AP Calculus AB on a 6-day cycle schedule in their senior year if they want to pursue a higher math class.  

“If a student excels in their math class and is qualified and willing to pursue honors math, we find a way to get them there.  We try to be creative with it,” said Dr. Gorman, the Math Department Chair.

Schreiber should possibly make joining the honors math track in high school slightly easier.  Schreiber already has some ways to allow qualified students to take more suitable classes, but it may be beneficial to make it more accessible to students.