Decline in registration for AP U.S. History

May 18, 2017 — by Chelsea Leung and Alexandra Li

As the guidance counselors met individually with sophomores in early March, many paused as they reviewed their future schedules and realized they were conflicted on whether they would take AP US History (APUSH) or regular US History (RUSH).

The counselors advised some students to carefully examine the wisdom of taking APUSH. Their advice was that taking a combination of hard classes junior year was a mistake made far too often.

Apparently, many students heeded their advice: The number of non-MAP APUSH classes is projected to drop from five sections this year to three sections next year. Although drops in enrollment could easily be attributed to fluctuating class sizes in the past, the current sophomore class has 360 students, compared to the juniors’ 302.

For sophomore Ruchi Maheshwari, taking regular U.S. history next year made sense.

“A lot of kids complain about the difficulty, and as someone who is already not that great at history, that puts me off a little,” Maheshwari said. “My sister [Nupur], who graduated in 2016, also told me about the difficulty of the class.”

On the other hand, sophomore Arin Chang signed up for APUSH, but he may drop to RUSH if he finds his overall workload too heavy, since he is also taking three other honors/AP classes, including AP Chemistry, English 11 Honors and Pre-Calculus Honors. He does not want to be overwhelmed, and has heard from upperclassmen about the amount of work that APUSH requires, such as the reading and writing that many students view as tedious.

For example, junior Surya Murthy, who is currently taking APUSH, does not recommend taking the class unless the student is confident in their ability to manage the heavy workload.

“I really like history, but I’m struggling a lot more than I thought I would,” Murthy said. “I definitely wouldn’t recommend taking it with English 11 Honors, because together, they take up all my time.”

Junior Ananya Chakravarthy, however, decided to take RUSH because she is already taking three other STEM-oriented AP classes and found it unnecessary to increase her burden with  more hard humanities classes.

Now that the year is almost over, Chakravarthy is happy with her decision.

“I really like the class,” Chakravarthy said. “We go at a slower pace because we don’t have to finish by May, and we learn the same material but the class isn’t as intense.”

Although APUSH is one of the most content-heavy AP classes, APUSH teacher Kim Anzalone thinks it does not deserve its reputation of being “overwhelming or too hard.” She has discussed the level of homework with students, and has found that most agree it is “just right for an AP class.”

Other APUSH teachers this year were Faith Stackhouse Daly and Matt Torrens, who taught the Media Arts Program version of the class.

Assistant Principal Brian Safine has noticed that over the years, the number of students registered for APUSH has fluctuated, mostly as students consider whether they are able to fit it into their schedule.

“Students are intentional about their time management and plan around with what they can fit in their day,” Safine said.
“We always encourage students to lead balanced lives. The students enrolled in APUSH, I believe, have a passion for the subject and are making a great decision by taking the class.”

 

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