As students in Ramaz approach senior year they are finally allowed to choose the classes they want to take. Unlike many other schools, Ramaz only offers classes that teach the AP curriculum in senior year. Essentially, AP exams are a standardized way of testing college-level material. Students that receive a good score on an AP test may earn college credits and can even use it to help their admissions process as having taken an AP exam is impressive. Though the school only offers classes senior year, AP tests can be self studied by students. Seniors in Ramaz are offered honors math classes such: HSS Calculus I, which is Calculus AB, HSS Calculus II, which is Calculus BC, and HSS Statistics. Seniors taking these classes should be given an option whether they want to take the AP exam or not.
Though many students are interested in taking an honors math class, they should not be forced to take the AP exam. Over a million high school students take AP exams and the number of AP exams given doubled from 2003 to 2013, according to the College Board. However, while these numbers are growing, colleges are making it extremely difficult for students to receive college credit. “Eighty-six percent of the top 153 universities and colleges in the United States restrict the awarding of AP credit… Only a handful of colleges deny AP credit altogether, but many others restrict the granting of credits,” Progressive Policy Institute explains. Therefore, many students in Ramaz who will be taking the AP Math exam will not be able to submit these credits to the school of their choice. Students applying to Dartmouth University, Brown University, the California Institute of Technology, Williams College, and Amherst College, and other universities will not be able to submit their test score. What’s the point of stressing about an exam when it will not count for any credit?
Taking the AP exam should definitely be optional. The entire point of taking an AP exam is because certain colleges award college credit to those who receive a high score. However, a senior that is aware that the college he is applying to does not accept AP credit should be able to opt out of taking the exam. In this case, the student may be taking an honors math class knowing that he/she will only be using it as preparation for their college course. There are many students who simply want to take the honors math class because they completed regular calculus and so calculus AB is the next step. For students taking honors math in junior year it would only make sense for them to take honors math in senior year. Taking the honors class and being forced to take the AP exam at the end enforces the notion that teaching is teaching “for the test”. The math class may as well be named “AP Calc” instead of “HSS Calc” Forcing students to take an AP exam and sit for many hours is completely unnecessary for seniors who will not gain any benefit from taking the exam. Jack Cohen ‘22 says, “Let students make their own decisions.”