Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mnemosyne's Notebook on Honors classes for all


Mnemosyne's Notebook said...

The Swiftian Solution would be to offer only AP Courses, since those would be richest in content.

Here in Hawaii, we teachers are taught that putting gifted students together with the less able is good for both. The research papers we were given to read during out teacher certification classes all showed that the less capable students did better on their projects when paired with more capable students(!). When I asked for results showing that the gifted students did better when paired with the less capable (as opposed to be paired with other gifted students) I was given anecdotes, but no data of real comparisons.

So, AP classes for all, with one gifted student per group - and only project work. That'll learn 'em all.


gasstationwithoutpumps said...

I know of one school where in some subjects all students must take AP courses: Pacific Collegiate. It is a lottery-entry charter school with so much demand that the odds of getting in are less than one in five.

It is not suitable for all kids—not even all really smart kids. In fact, when we got to the top of the waiting list this year (after 4 years of entering the lottery), we ended up turning down a place. Explanations at http://gasstationwithoutpumps.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/school-decisions/ and subsequent posts in the "home school" category.

Mnemosyne's Notebook said...

Where to even begin? The person in charge of the math curriculum for the state is opposed to homogenous classes, we are charged with teaching "process" as we implement the Common Core Standards (be a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage), and our school principal does not think we could manage honors classes with the new CC standards since the benchmarks for those were too buried in the froo-froo documentation for her to find. So, we should call every class Honors and put lipstick on that gorgeous porcine visage.

ChemProf said...

I noticed this at my own high school, looking at their website. In the antediluvian period when I was a student, there were two sections of anything honors. Now there are six or seven. I don't think there are so many more highly able students, judging from the posted syllabi and small number of AP courses. Instead, what used to be called college prep is now honors and "real honors" is gone.