11 Sep 2017
In an effort to expose more students to collegiate-level material and better prepare students going forward in their academic careers, the Social Science Department, for the first time in Loyola history, has made the decision to make AP World History opened enrollment for all who are interested in the sophomore class.
Though many are skeptical of the change because of the numerous risks of disregarding the application process and thus allowing more possibly unqualified students into the AP curriculum, the change seems to be for the best.
The decision comes after Mr. Roger Stewart and Mr. Jamal Adams ‘90 attended a conference and noticed the attempt that many high schools are implementing to create a more inclusive curriculum for all students. This effort included opening up formerly restricted courses to the entire student body, thus allowing more students to partake in the Advanced Placement system.
Some in the Loyola community, including teachers who fear a drop in Loyola’s average AP scores, are skeptical of the decision due to the fact that the sophomore history class will now attract students with lower grade averages and potential test scores. In fact, the number of students in AP World History has jumped from 180 last year to 298 this year.
The fear is that students who would normally be placed into World History and are now in AP World History will find it extremely difficult to succeed in the advanced-placement course. By opening enrollment, the Social Science department is seemingly allowing for lower AP scores come May 17.
However, the goal of this change is not to see how many would fail but how many can and will succeed. Instead of exposing students to their academic weaknesses, AP World History allows for all students to develop the critical thinking and writing skills needed for both the AP test as well as the rest of their Loyola careers. Students will also gain AP-level experience in an established environment, echoing the sentiment that the history department has reinforced for years.
While it is unfortunate that previous classes were denied the opportunity to openly enroll in AP World History, the Social Sciences department is heading in the right direction this year through this decision. Almost 120 more students are now involved in the AP curriculum, and four more AP World History classes have been added to the Loyola schedule.
Moreover, the influx of students in the Advanced Placement curriculum is also a bonus for students in other grades as well: According to Mr. Andrey Aristov ‘80, Loyola will have to cancel one school day in May to keep classrooms open for the sophomore history students taking the College Board AP World History Test.
However, in the future, Loyola’s AP and honors classes will not see open enrollment or larger yields in acceptance, as a lack of space on campus for AP testing prohibits Loyola from opening up any more AP courses. According to Aristov, because Xavier Center can only fit 180 students and the administration does not want to close school for more than one day in May, Loyola is limited to having only one open enrollment Advanced Placement course until the expansion of Xavier Center in the coming years or another solution is found.
The History Department’s decision will reinforce the skills needed to be successful in any course at Loyola and beyond. While test scores will inevitably be lower, more students will grow as writers and thinkers. Hopefully, Loyola can turn towards making other departments have advanced open enrollment courses.