The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

Academic choice

November 5, 2021

Another factor when considering an AP cap is the wide variety of students at Los Altos and the academic paths they want to take, and the potential of an AP cap restricting that.

“There are students up and down the spectrum, where one AP is perfect in their world,” Walter said. “There are also students at the other end who aren’t happy if they’re not busy every 20 seconds of the day and suddenly would be limited.”

One concern about an AP cap is that students who wish to challenge themselves will not be able to, or that they will be forced to sacrifice AP classes they’re interested in. Though college and career counselor Laura Duran sees the potential wellness benefits of an AP cap, she also recognizes some potential downsides of such a policy.

“There are going to be outliers that are negatively impacted…” Duran said, “…if a student who maybe has a language or a math class, where it’s just like the next class in the sequence, you might have to make a hard decision elsewhere.” 

Sophomore Matthew Kim agreed, feeling that a cap would ultimately be too limiting, and would ineffectively address the reasons students become academically overloaded.

“It may be worth thinking about restrictions on large numbers of AP courses, 6 or 7 a year, but I think there are better solutions to the underlying problem,” Matthew said.

Instead, Matthew believes that policies ensuring that AP classes stay within the five hours-per-week guidelines would more effectively reduce student stress. Over 70 percent of students reported having more than four to five hours of homework per week from an AP class, according to a survey of 332 respondents conducted through The Talon’s Instagram. Matthew also suggested that allowing students in AP classes to turn in incomplete homework without penalty, given that they spent the expected amount of time on the assignment, could help maintain a lower homework load without requiring teachers to assign less homework overall.

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