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Excessive Pressure To Take Advanced Placement Courses

1578 words - 7 pages

Let me take you back to being a sophomore in high school: fifteen-about-to-turn-sixteen-year-olds, beginning thoughts of college just blooming in their minds, and they are taking more challenging classes than ever before. Every year, classes are changed in schools in order to fulfill new requirements and the difficulty is increased in order to challenge the new students. These new classes and the amount of choices students now have between the different classes available now put new pressures on students that the older generations may not understand. Not only do students have the choice of electives, but now they have the choice of different mathematics, sciences, and English courses on a range of sometimes four different levels. With all these choices, students may have a hard time deciding which is the proper course and level to take. Unfortunately, there is one more pressure in the mix of this decision: the pressure to take advanced placement (AP) courses. More students are taking AP classes every year but the number of students who “bomb the AP exams is growing even more rapidly” (Simon). This leads into the idea that students are not getting more intelligent than the previous classes, but simply that there is too much pressure on them to take these AP courses. Students in high school are being pressured too much to take advanced placement courses whether or not they are academically qualified for them.
Parents play a huge part in the decision making process in their children’s education. The parents almost always want what they think is best for their children and sometimes the parents do not know where to draw the line between assisting their child and controlling their children’s lives. When discussing course choices in high school, the idea of AP courses, if they are available, tends to come up in the conversation between the parent and the child. Parent pressures to take these courses can be misleading to the students. Although the parent wants what is best for their child, they may not be portraying what they really want from the class for their child. One student said this about his parents: “They are more concerned with the college credits through my advanced placement exams than the learning experience I get by taking these advanced classes” (Taylor). Now of course the parent wants the student to learn from the class and further his knowledge, but the student clearly does not get that impression. Parents need to make sure they are encouraging their children to take courses for the right reasons because simply getting a four on an AP test is not the only reason to take the course. Additionally, an experiment was done to see if parents influence children in their choices in life of which Dr. Brittain wrote a review on. The experiment consisted of equal groups of girls and boys making choices, such as the type of courses they will take, with and without parental pressure. With parental pressure, the student was fifty-two percent likely...

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