Math Department Madness

What happens if a new AP course is created?


A student studies math worksheets. Used from Unsplash.

A shakeup is occurring in the math department here at AAHS with the creation of a new AP course: AP Precalculus. This course has changed students’ schedules and caused numerous complaints. How does AAHS handle these changes and their impacts?

The new class will teach students various math skills, similar to previous courses such as Honors Precalculus. These skills will help increase students’ readiness for future classes such as AP Calculus.

“The AP Precalculus Exam will measure your understanding of the mathematical content … and your ability to apply different skills in problem solving. These skills include algebraically manipulating functions, equations, and expressions; translating mathematical information between representations; and communicating with precise language and providing rationales for conclusions,” a page by College Board on AP Students noted.

AP Precalculus has had wide-ranging effects on students who initially registered for general or Honors Precalculus, forcing students to choose between Algebra 3 or AP Precalculus. This includes sophomore Sam Johnson, who expressed that Algebra 3 is not challenging enough, whereas AP Precalculus could be too challenging, and that “gen pre-calc was like a middle ground” for him.

Likewise, the change has had huge implications for other areas of the math department, namely AP Calculus. Having resulted in the removal of AP Calculus BC, students intending to take it now must change their schedules.

“Due to lower enrollment numbers for AP Calc BC, Air Academy will not be able to offer this course. Students need to work with their alpha counselor to change their course requests. Students can switch to AP Calc AB, AP Statistics, or there is still time to register for MathOnline through UCCS CU Succeed,” counselor Rachel Archer noted in an email sent to students about the status of AP Calculus BC.

The class, having been removed from the schedule has resulted in a stir among students, especially sophomores. These students may believe they have lost an opportunity for academic rigor.

“I think it’s not good. To me, it just seems like you’re limiting students in what classes they can choose…it is trapping them into a certain class that doesn’t meet the challenge they want,” sophomore Nicholas Lau stated.

Furthermore, AAHS’s counselors and administrators face the daunting task of handling students’  and teachers’ schedules. After adding a new course, they must now contact students, rebalance requests, and attempt to hire teachers. For example, the school’s administration is looking into hiring a new teacher in the math department for the 2023-24 school year.

AP classes and courses with increased rigor can allow students to compel themselves to improve. The addition of a new course can cause widespread inconvenience, yet it can also create novel opportunities for students to succeed.

“Taking an AP class (or several!) is a great way to challenge yourself academically and show colleges that you’re serious about your education. An AP class on your transcript signals stronger academic training, especially with high passing scores of 4 and 5 on the test,” noted an article titled What Are AP Classes? Why Should You Take Them? written by Halle Edwards.

AAHS has seen disgruntled sentiments from some students. However, the creation of AP Precalculus will result in greater AP experience and opportunities for some of next year’s students, who must take advantage of and navigate changes such as these in a way that is optimal for their interests and success.