Over 30 students have dropped Chemistry Honors this year, leading faculty and students to hope for a system that will avoid this in the future. This number is so large that many are unable to take regular chemistry due to space constraints.
Chemistry Honors was first offered last year, and former students said that the class was equally as difficult as Biology Honors. This year’s Chemistry Honors class uses new textbooks, which many cite as a factor for increase in difficulty.
Teachers maintain that because it is an honors course, the work should not be lessened.
“We’re not going to change the honors curriculum; it is appropriate,” Chemistry Honors teacher Craig Seran said. “[There is significantly] more math in honors because we’re trying to provide a greater challenge and the pacing is faster.”
The high number of dropouts has nonetheless caused much distress for the teachers.
“It breaks my heart when the kid’s been here for four weeks and realizes, ‘I’m in over my head,’” Seran said.
The Science Department is discussing methods to prevent high dropout rates in the future. Ideas include adding more explicit course guideline sheets at the beginning of the year, worksheets that compare Regular and Honors problems, and tests similar to the mathematics knowledge test that Physics AP students take during the first week of school.
Seran believes that an aptitude test would serve as a “frame of reference” for students, allowing them to evaluate their own abilities before making decisions.
He said that the faculty members do not mean to act as “gate keepers” to whether students can take the class, but are instead in favor of “providing as many tools to kids as possible to make the right choice.”