The Student News Site of Saratoga High School

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

What all honors classes should have

Honors: It’s a distinction awarded to a select few classes for being above and beyond the average. Much more difficult than a standard course, an honors class requires students to analyze, synthesize and prove concepts. In math, this means deriving equations on your own. In English, this means reading and writing thousands of words per week.
Correction: That’s what the label "honors" should mean. Unfortunately, the current implementation of “honors” varies from class to class. In order to earn their label, honors courses need to stick to a common standard. 
One standard in the honors math program needs to be regular testing of derivations and types of problems not seen in the homework or lecture notes. 
In honors classes, students are expected to know all proofs "because this is an honors class." Yet, in many cases, assessments don’t test them, and even when they do, it is often one of the easier derivations or one that was covered multiple times in class. 
A more general specification might be limited time on tests and quizzes. While more time on assessments is not bad, anyone with a basic understanding of the material can do well if they have unlimited time. 
From my own experience, I know that an extra 15 or 20 minutes can make a huge difference in my score. I also know that I only need those “free” minutes when I don’t have a solid grasp of the subject.  Honors assessments should show which students truly grasp with the concepts.  
Finally, honors classes should have harder and more homework than regular classes. Greater quantities of work is already a natural byproduct of the faster pace of honors classes, and additional problems dedicated to inquiry would be strong supplements to the standard, formula-calculator problems.
Honors classes need to observe these criteria to differentiate them from regular classes, too. The intent of honors classes is to challenge students who might otherwise feel bored in regular classes. 
Some may argue that these changes may make honors classes harder, thereby increasing the average level of stress for students. Yet this argument ignores one simple fact.
By junior or senior year, most students know where their strengths lie. Under the current system, many feel that they need to take a lot of honors and AP classes to compete for college admissions. 
Under a revised one, though, they might be more comfortable with only taking higher-level classes in just a few areas. More difficult honors classes will be less appealing to students who lack ability in and passion for the subject, while regular classes will become more of an option. Only those who really love the subject will dare to take honors classes.
In short, honors classes need to uphold these benchmarks to earn their name. There is no point in marking a class as "more challenging" to colleges and scaling a student's GPA out of 5.0 if it is an unchallenging class. 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Saratoga Falcon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *