AP World proves rigorous


Ethan Richards

The book for the course work in AP World Studies with a drop slip. The drop process for AP World Studies is the first advanced placement class students at Johnston High school are offered, which leads to many being unprepared and dropping.

Jacob Kim and Ethan Richards

A.P. World Studies is one of the first opportunities students have to be in an advanced placement (A.P.) class. A.P. World Studies operates at a rapid pace and requires a more intensive reading in comparison to World Studies. There were 63 students who started the year in A.P. World Studies.

A.P. World Studies includes more work outside of class and more material learned in class. This is generally a big step up for students as far as the workload and how advanced the coursework required to do well in the class is. This can result in students who may not have anticipated a class of such increased difficulty. Subsequently, there will be students who are not ready for such a demanding course and therefore have to drop.

The process of dropping A.P. World Studies is unique because students are still required to complete a world studies credit in order to meet graduation requirements. Because of this, the regular class is substituted in place of the A.P. class s0 that students who choose to drop are not behind schedule to graduate. Once those who chose to drop are placed int0 regular world studies, their grade earned in A.P. World Studies up to that point is carried over. This is done in order to provide a way for students to have a grade that is both fair and representative. 

Julianna Fuhr ‘20 dropped A.P. World Studies. Fuhr managed to make it through the first unit test in AP World but felt she needed to drop after a difficult pop quiz that had required students to do a reading assigned the night before. “That pop quiz made me realize that this class just wasn’t going to work for me,” Fuhr said. “I normally did the reading assignments, but I couldn’t that night and it really hurt my grade.” 

Fuhr’s grade was 64.22 percent when she chose to drop A.P. World Studies. Based on the school’s policy, Fuhr should have begun regular World Studies with that same grade. However, her teacher dropped her grades from the unit test and pop quiz which boosted her grade back up to a 96.33 percent. Because of this, she began World Studies with that grade and was able to finish the semester with a 94 percent.

For Fuhr the difference between the two classes was pretty drastic. There was a more excessive reading load in A.P. World Studies that also required them to learn more detailed material at a much more rapid pace compared to the non-A.P. class. They spend one week on one chapter in A.P. World Studies, while the regular class can spend up to a month learning the same material.

From Fuhr’s perspective, the difficulty of the class had nothing to do with the A.P. World Studies teacher Sue Cline or her teaching style. “I loved her and the way she taught,” Fuhr said.

With the difficulty of the class, freshmen picking their sophomore courses can underestimate what it takes to succeed in an A.P. class. Robbie Beaman ’20 also dropped A.P. World Studies during the first semester of the school year. Beaman’s reasoning was more due to him feeling he did not need the class. “There wasn’t any point for me to take a more difficult class,” Beaman said.

Both Beaman and Fuhr’s experiences show the different aspects of why students may not want to take an advanced placement class. “I think that our Freshmen do that (underestimate the difficulty) with many classes since the expectations are very different across the board from the middle school to the high school,” Social studies and former A.P. World Studies teacher Jessica Dowell said. “It is also the nature of the age group to overestimate their abilities when it comes to balancing classes and coursework with extra-curricular activities and jobs,” Dowell said.

The way the process of dropping the class works in favor of students who may have underestimated the difficulty of A.P. World Studies. In fact, it may even help prepare them by giving them a taste of the more difficult coursework they will have to do later on in high school and college. “Many students who choose to try A.P. World Studies had a very easy time in ninth grade, and are not willing or are unprepared to put the kind of time in that they would need in order to be as successful as they want in an A.P. course, especially one as challenging as A.P. World Studies,” Dowell said.

Sue Cline, the A.P. World Studies teacher at the high school, agrees with Dowell’s opinion that freshmen easily underestimate the difficulty of the class while they are selecting their courses. “I don’t think the kids have any conception of how difficult A.P. can be,” Cline said.

From Cline’s perspective, she completely understands why students feel like they need to drop the class. “I have a lot of respect for the students who even sign up,” Cline said.

However, for some students, the class just does not fit into certain schedules. “You cannot do everything and do everything perfectly,” Cline said. “You have to choose your priorities and cut yourself a break in other areas, that’s just a process every kid has to go through to find where that break is.”