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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    Gonzaga students adjust to AP curriculum in hybrid learning

    The AP’s 2021 exam schedule offers options depending on how the schools are administering classes this year. (Screenshot from AP website)

    Students at Gonzaga College High School take many demanding classes, but the AP curriculum has become one of the most demanding levels students could participate in before college. Regardless of the pandemic, these courses have maintained their academic rigor as classes continue online. Students and teachers have adjusted to the current situation, as plans for future AP tests attempt to accommodate students’ needs to ensure a safe and efficient assessment. 

    “The test hasn’t changed, and basically the curriculum hasn’t changed either; we are expected to hit everything. However, they have given us pacing guides because everything has gotten skewed—because some schools do not have the same resources as you and I to continue to work over virtual classes,” said Mr. Adrian Oryshkevych, AP European History teacher, regarding his own experience accommodating both the AP material and students to virtual schooling. 

    Transitioning class from in-person to virtual is no easy task. Many teachers have experienced difficulties in finding the right balance of work as AP students experience the brunt of this hard transition.

    “I think our AP students should be not as prepared as other years, but they will be better prepared than the national average. I have some friends who are just now starting their courses, and they have three months to cover the entire year’s worth of curriculum, and they simply won’t make it,” said Mr. Paul Buckley, AP statistics teacher. 

    The combination of both overall more challenging work and virtual schooling has challenged many students as they struggle to find their footing in these uncertain times.

    “I think there’s one great word to describe the AP experience over Zoom: extreme. I don’t believe that it’s possible for me or most people to learn anything well when real human communication is not taking place in person, and while Zoom is a good measure to continue the learning process, it makes everything a whole lot more difficult,” said Nicolas Rugo, sophomore and first-time AP student. 

    Some students remain adamant in the belief that it’s the classwork that gives them more stress. 

    “Zoom seemed more like a small hindrance. I was used to school online by the start of this year, so it felt normal and had little effect on me personally. The big adjustment was to the actual academic parts of the class, not necessarily the online aspect,” said first-time AP student Jack Tompkins, a sophomore.

    Teachers have had issues with providing students with practical and engaging lessons to best prepare students for upcoming AP tests. College Board has made efforts to help these struggles by providing free online resources in AP Classroom, including the new AP Daily videos, to better support online and in-person learning. 

    “While I reviewed notes for all of my classes, I especially found the AP videos and resources useful for Calculus Bc and AP chemistry; these were my main resources for studying,” said Grant Weeter, senior.

    This academic year has been unlike any other in the modern education system. Many remain skeptical about what effect the pandemic will have long-term on these high school students’ success. 

    According to Brookings Institution’s study “How is Covid-19 affecting student learning” it is believed that “[while] more students are back in schools now and educators have more experience with remote instruction than when the pandemic forced schools to close in spring 2020, the collective shock we are experiencing is ongoing.” 

    In a time of uncertainty and questions, the AP curriculum has remained consistent in its goal of providing students with a platform to stand out and grow in. 

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      Pam ValeirasFeb 8, 2021 at 11:05 am

      I found your article both informative and interesting–great quotes too!