A significant change was discussed for the Nation Ford High School curriculum recently - splitting AP English into two separate courses.
AP, or Advanced Placement, English is a college-level course offered primarily to seniors at Nation Ford and Fort Mill High Schools. It is a year-long course at the end of which students take two exams, one for the language portion of the class and one for the literature portion. If the student passes the exams at the end of the year, he or she receives two college credits, whereas most AP courses result in only one credit.
Last semester, it was brought up to students that the course may be split into AP English Literature and AP English Language. Literature would focus mainly on works of fiction, while Language would focus on nonfiction. Each new course would be only one semester long, have one exam and result in one college credit. Students would have the option of taking Language, Literature or both courses.
The new concept of splitting the course sparked strong debate among students.
Many juniors, whom the decision would affect most quickly, supported the split. "It's two separate courses and it emphasizes two different strengths of students and they shouldn't be forced to take both of them," Junior Justin Lyons argued.
Claire Sibley, another junior, commented, "I think we should split up the two English courses because then it fits better with each student's schedule."
Each new course would be only one semester, opening a free block in students' schedules to take another class they otherwise would not have been able to.
Others point out advantages of keeping AP English as one course.
"Students should know that at the end of the year they will take two AP exams; one for the Language portion and one for the Literature portion," guidance counselor Sara English warned in an e-mail. "If you split them up then you will have a whole semester between the curriculum taught and the AP exam."
All AP exams are only given at the end of second semester. If a student had one of the AP English courses first semester, then there would be a large gap of time between the class and the exam, possibly affecting AP scores despite review before the exam.
Lyons avidly supported the split from first hearing about it and encouraged other juniors who agreed with him to tell their guidance counselors that they wanted AP English split into two courses.
"I wanted everyone who thought it was a pressing issue to tell guidance, because it kind of is," Lyons said.
English said that at the moment, the decision has been made to keep AP English as one course. When asked if the decision could still be changed, she said, "I am not sure of the timeline for a decision at this moment. Things can always be revisited but I am not sure if it will change."