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Beaverton Hummer

The Official Website of Beaverton High School's Student-Run Newspaper

Beaverton Hummer

The Official Website of Beaverton High School's Student-Run Newspaper

Beaverton Hummer

Cuts to AP humanities courses for underclassmen; more required courses

District+changes+have+led+to+restrictions+on+AP+classes+for+underclassmen+%5BGraphic+made+with+Canva%5D.+
Samson Naleway
District changes have led to restrictions on AP classes for underclassmen [Graphic made with Canva].

Many changes are coming to the humanities courses at BHS. The district is cutting AP options for sophomores and requiring standard social studies and English courses for all in the 10th grade. District leaders are trying to align Beaverton High School’s curriculum more with IB schools in the district, which restrict advanced classes to upperclassmen. 

One of the major changes for next year is that sophomores will not be allowed to take AP US History. The decision is the result of the school district standardizing the social studies curriculum for 6th grade through 10th grade; now every 10th grader in the district must take 10th-grade social studies (US History and Economics). Social Studies Department Head, Eric Lantz, said that the change makes sense, as many sophomore students taking AP US History did not have sufficient background knowledge on the subject to succeed. The pace of the class needed to be slowed down to accommodate this. Sophomore Zinnia Berg, who took the class this year, stated that “at the start of the year, I did not have the skill of managing my time or studying.” She elaborated that she “was not prepared [for] note-taking or textbook reading,” but did not mention a lack of background knowledge on the subject as a challenge in the course.

While sophomores must now take US History and Economics, they still can take AP Human Geography, in addition, as an elective course. AP Human Geography, according to Lantz, is a good “intro to AP” course, lighter on reading and Document Based Questions (DBQs) than AP US History. This has led to AP Human Geography being the AP class with the highest enrollment at BHS, with 168 students taking the AP exam this year. However, Kristi Russell, the AP Coordinator, predicted that “the number of students in [AP] Human Geo will go down,” as a result of more changes made to the Social Studies Department.

These changes include the addition of AP Seminar and AP Research, the removal of both Economics and AP Economics, and the class of 2026 and younger being required to take either Civics or AP Government. AP Seminar and AP Research are two fairly new AP classes that focus on research and communication. They are part of the AP Capstone Diploma, which can be earned with a score of 3 or higher on the exams for AP Seminar and AP Research and scores of 3 or higher on the exams for four other AP classes.

The Language Arts Department also experienced a change but at a much smaller scale than the Social Studies Department: Sophomore students will no longer be permitted to take AP Lang. There were multiple reasons for this. First, there are only two AP Language Arts classes offered at BHS, AP Lang and AP English Literature and Composition (AP Lit), so it makes sense that those classes be taken consecutively in 11th and 12th grade. In addition, there are many “prerequisite” foundational skills needed for AP Lang that many 10th graders do not have, most likely because those skills are taught in Lit and Comp 10. Again, this was the result of a district-wide decision, but to create more equity in courses offered at comprehensive high schools. The IB schools in the Beaverton School District – Sunset, Mountainside, and Southridge – do not offer advanced Language Arts classes until junior year. Despite the change, freshmen still express interest in the class. Freshman Alice Cole stated “…I find myself leaning towards a profession that involves writing, so I see AP Lang as a way to explore that.” Cole also cited expanding current knowledge of language arts as a reason to take AP Lang.

Outside of the humanities departments, few changes have been made to the courses offered. The exception to this is minimal changes made in the Science Department, in the form of more prerequisite classes – students are now required to take STEM Physics their freshman year. Previously, freshmen were allowed the choice between STEM Physics and STEM Chemistry. Freshmen who took STEM Chemistry ended up taking AP Physics later in high school to fulfill the physics graduation requirement.

Overall, the changes being made to the AP classes at BHS are concentrated in the humanities department and mostly impact current underclassmen. It is yet to be seen how much these changes to the course offerings will affect the number of students taking APs and college preparedness at Beaverton High School. 

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About the Contributors
Juniper Lanford
Juniper Lanford, Staff Writer
Juniper is a freshman at Beaverton High School who writes articles for The Hummer. They enjoy talking about glaciers and reading.
Samson Naleway
Samson Naleway, Editor-in-Chief
Samson is a junior at Beaverton High School who writes and edits articles for The Hummer. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer and racquetball.

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