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Sophomore English Exodus

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There are only 48 days of school left at Orcutt Academy, and Spartans are already planning for the future. While seniors are getting ready to head out, the lower classmen are preparing for the next school year- but this time their class registration has resulted in some unexpected news.

In recent weeks, sophomore students sat down with their counselors to map out their schedules for the upcoming year. Once all were completed, the class enrollment numbers revealed a shocking outcome. Surprisingly, the the counseling department says upwards of 75 sophomores do not plan on taking english at OA in the 2017-2018 school year.

Since the school opened its doors, there has never been a greater number of students choosing to take a required class outside of the campus. Instead of taking either the standard English 11 or the AP English 11 courses at OA, these students will be enrolled in the Allan Hancock equivalent class over the summer to gain a full year’s worth of English credit.

So far there is no explicit answer as to why students have chosen to forgo english at OA, but there are some reasonable theories. A couple of these include a chance to skip the annual Poetry Out Loud Competition, or an opportunity to gain college credit without having to take the AP test. To get a better idea of why the lower classmen have chosen alternative options for English, the Spartan Oracle sat down with sophomores Lacey Brayton and Jessica Dantzer who will be taking english at Allan Hancock next year.

During an interview, Lacey told the Spartan Oracle that she is not taking english at OA because she wants to get her, “general ed out of the way and potentially go to a university after high school”. With college approaching as she enters her junior year, Lacey felt that this would be the best way to get a head start on classes. This seems to be a common reason among the sophomore class because though many want college credit, they are not prepared for the challenge of an AP class.

Fellow sophomore, Jessica Dantzer, is also taking english at Allan Hancock so that she can, “knock out” some of her general education classes, among other reasons. Dantzer further based her decision on the fact that she wants to avoid teachers and she “does not want to participate in Poetry Out Loud.”

Moving forward, the question to be asked is whether or not this great English migration will continue in the future? Will class registration for English at OA continue to decrease, or is this just an odd year? Does this reflect positively on the English department’s ability to prepare students to work at the college level so early on? Will students be successful at the college level? How will this impact the English department? Will there be more electives offered? Will policy change and students forced into English classes?

The Spartan Oracle will keep a close eye on this possible trend.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Sophomore English Exodus”

  1. Graham Culbara on March 30th, 2017 9:06 AM

    I know one of the concerns about taking AP English is passing the test. Here’s some helpful data. Here are pass rates for the last three years: 65% (2016), 68% (2015), 72% (2014). Between 2014 and 2015, we added a second section of AP English. This could perhaps explain the higher pass rate in 2014.

    Additionally, in 2016, the pass rate for students that took two full years of Honors English and one full year of AP English was 94%. In other words, if you take all the full honors track for English, you will most likely pass the AP test.

    I get that splitting for Hancock seems like a safer bet, but I think there are potential downsides. You are going to be less prepared for college and you have the potential for a low grade making its way onto your college transcript. It’s also not a given that every university accepts the credits you want to transfer, especially if you are looking outside of the UC/CSU system.

    Perhaps the case isn’t made enough for AP English – it’s a year-long writing-intensive course that will prepare you for the demands of a four-year university. Additionally, pass rates are high enough to suggest you will likely receive college credit for the class. I imagine it is more demanding than a community college class, but I’m guessing that taking a less-demanding class can reflect short-term thinking rather than long-term thinking. How prepared do you want to be for taking the SAT? Where do you want to be when you step onto a competitive college campus – with the pack or ahead of it?

    [Reply]

  2. Staci Tilley on April 6th, 2017 9:26 AM

    As a Junior and current student of AP English with Culbara I would like to state that taking this class is incredibly beneficial when preparing for the SAT and ACT. The articles we read and essays we write directly correlate to the SAT. If a student was to take English 101 and Hancock I believe they would neglect themselves the opportunity to prepare for theses tests. But on the other hand if the student doesn’t plan on attending a 4 year university directly out of high school or English isn’t there intended major. Then there is almost no point in taking this class.
    So this is just an opinion from a junior taking this class currently. I hope all underclassman make the wisest decisions for themselves.

    [Reply]

  3. Krysten Parker on April 7th, 2017 9:00 AM

    Mr. Culbara: As someone who has taken multiple English courses through Hancock, I do not agree with your statement. You mention that one of the downsides of taking an English course at Hancock is that a student is essentially going to be less prepared for college. I simply do not agree. I can’t think of a better way to prepare a student for college than by taking a college-level course at an actual college, taught by an actual qualified college instructor.

    I also don’t agree that a “less demanding” community college course reflects short-term thinking. You seem to think rather highly of your AP English class, which is justified. I don’t, however, understand how a student who doesn’t take your course is now labeled a “short-term thinker”. With college credits, learning, and experience under my belt, I know I am not a short-term thinker.

    I’m not saying your AP English class is any less educational or equipping; however, I do not think taking an English class at Hancock is any less educational or beneficial.

    [Reply]

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Sophomore English Exodus