Honors History: Filling the Void Between AP and Regents

Honors History:  Filling the Void Between AP and Regents

Olivia Komosinski, Staff Writer

There’s absolutely no question that AP History and Regents History are two completely different courses.

Early in the school year, students notice a five pound difference between the workloads of students taking each course. While the students in Regents are assigned short worksheets to complete, vocabulary lists to define, and an occasional 5-10 pages of textbook reading come homework time, the majority of students in AP drown in DBQs and sheets upon sheets of guided reading, with the impending doom of the next exam constantly looming. The advanced placement curriculum puts both United States and Global History under such a powerful microscope that it can be hard to believe that everyone is learning about the same events. Although many students clearly belong in either of the courses, the dilemma of the Ward Melville history program is that there are several who find themselves lost within the gray area between the black and white of AP and Regents. Bright students who simply couldn’t keep up or were initially scared away by horror stories from the upperclassmen, specifically with regard to AP World, all too often slip down to Regents, which lacks the challenge they’re accustomed to. On the other hand, those who stick it out and stay in AP despite consistently low grades are plagued by sleeplessness, anxiety, and the overall academic misery that comes with taking such a high level course. From the beginning, these individuals were faced with picking their poison; a weighted grade and an AP level exam under their belt, along with several all-nighters and perhaps a nervous breakdown, or an all too easy A.

As a sophomore learning world history myself, I understand that it’s too late for me or my peers to switch into or out of AP, however, I also know that generations of younger students will have to make this defining choice as we did. To avoid students falling into this gray area in the future and fill this massive void between advanced placement and regents, there should be an Honors History option available to those who met the honors requirement of an 85 average each quarter of eighth grade history or had above a 90 and a teacher’s recommendation.

This course would not require students to take the AP exam, but it would allow them to have an extensive insight into world history for the Regents exam through an enriched course of study. I feel that having some kind of middle ground between such contrasting curricula would benefit every high school student. Obviously, the students struggling in AP along with those who aren’t challenged by Regents would find a happy medium that would allow stimulating, intellectual conversation with the enrichment, but without the rigor of the advanced placement curriculum. The AP students would benefit in the sense that more of them would belong there and succeed, while the Regents kids could potentially see the class as an incentive to potentially move up academically, unlike just having AP, which is virtually impossible to switch into.

In terms of the financial and logical possibilities of Honors History, I’m of the firm belief that there will be a decent balance of kids throughout each course and that no additional teachers will be required for this to be possible. I’m not personally familiar with the process of adding classes or changing teaching plans, but I’m certain that the passionate staff of the Ward Melville,Murphy, and Gelinas history departments would be able to make this option a reality.