What elevates AP, IB, and dual credit classes above the rest? Each teacher has their own approach, but I think that far too many assume that giving more work means a better, more involved class.
Sentinel offers an amazing number of AP and dual credit classes––43, to be exact. With such a large selection, how do students decide which classes are worth their while? For some, it is based purely on building a transcript. Others focus on a specific discipline, something that they find engaging. No matter the reason, there is always the chance that a class will not quite live up to expectations.
A common complaint among AP students is the amount of homework that they are assigned. Even the most organized people with great time management skills can get bogged down by long-term projects, test prep, and busywork. Busywork is a motivation killer; it sucks up free time without giving anything back to the student. Packets, fill-in-the-blank worksheets, review assignments that seem more redundant than anything––I wonder how many reams of paper go toward these grade-boosters each year.
Assigning work at a higher level often means a heavier load to grade, and that must be taken into account. I do believe that it is reasonable to ask for a cut in “filler” assignments, though. If neither student nor teacher are benefiting, they are just points in the gradebook with almost no impact. Teachers should try to find a balance between fewer, larger projects and more, smaller homework tasks.
Finding this balance would give more meaning to AP and dual credit classes. Students would be more engaged in the information rather than just the coursework, and teachers would be able to delve deeper into their subject. Both would likely feel relief after the heavy workload was reduced.