by Lily Clardy
For years, the school has combined the ninth grade honors and academic students in the same English and history classes, but this structure disrupts students’ overall learning. Honors and academic students work at different paces, so why put them together?
“It was enforced to lift the level of challenge because in the real world we don’t separate people by skill level,” Curriculum Coordinator Todd Wallingford said.
The separation of academic students and honors students into different classes happens only in ninth grade science and math classes.
In history and English, the class can focus on one essential question the whole year. This gives both levels time to process the information. But, in science and math, students are separated based on how quickly they can comprehend the material.
Separating the academic and honors students in English and history would benefit everyone. Students would get to learn at a pace that’s right for them, and they would all be challenged at their own level.
While conducting a survey for ninth grade students, out of 64 responses, 34 percent of the students said that they do not want academic and honors students separated. But, 66 percent of ninth grade students said yes, they do want academic and honors students separated.
Of the 64 students surveyed, 20.3 percent were academic students, and 79.7 percent were honors. So, looking at the data gathered, the majority of students who voted were honors students.
In the survey, I asked students why they feel the way that they do. The most commonly chosen answers were that the honors students could be going through a lot more material, the class moves too fast for the academic students, the class moves too slow for honor students, and the academic students take longer to complete an assignment.
Not only will students benefit from this change, but teachers will also. Some teachers think that having two different levels of students in one class is extremely hard to manage and stressful to teach the same material to students who learn at completely different paces. It is practically two classes, but it’s the illusion of one.
Mixing academic and honors students is unfair to the honors students because it’s based off of the belief that the honors students will positively influence the academic students.
Since the material delivered to the class is sometimes easier for the honors students, it can cause those students to play around because they know they can get it done in a shorter amount of time than they were given.
If this change is enforced, honor students would be faced with a lot more challenges and they would be able to work at their pace with students at their own level. Academic students will also get to learn at their own pace and their work will not always be compared to the honors students.