There has been an unusual amount of students dropping out of Honors Chemistry this year. More than 20 students have dropped the class from their schedule.
The teachers and school administration have been working to figure out some way to help the students, but there seems to be a major reason behind the problem. Deborah Yager and Richard Schneck both teach Honors Chemistry.
“It has to do with having to think about the big picture,” Yager said. “Having general biology for all students last year was the first time we did that. It was an important decision because we are trying to help close the performance gap with our lower-performing students, but we didn’t realize what it would mean in terms of not having an Honors Biology option last year.”
For the first time, Honors Biology was not offered last year, and teachers along with Yager believe this is a significant cause of the high drop rate of Honors Chemistry.
Due to the challenging nature of the coursework, Honors Chemistry is a difficult class to pass. In previous years, Honors Biology was offered and required the same amount of time and effort to get a good grade. It was a foundation to learn about heavier homework loads as freshmen and helped students prepare to excel in other advanced placement and honors courses.
“We did not do a good job of letting the kids know the workload that would be required in Honors Chemistry,” Schneck said. “Their math grade in Geometry and Algebra is more important of an indicator than anything else and their willingness to work hard.”
After losing approximately eight students from his honors classes, Schneck allowed a few students on the waiting list to get into the class who have since received a grade of B or higher.
There are many possible reasons as to why the drop rate is so high, but the main goal for the teachers and administration is to give students sufficient preparation for college and other difficult classes in the students’ futures.
“We’re all trying to figure it out,” Yager said. “This was just an unexpected consequence that we now have to think about how to deal with.”