Graphic by Max Wix
The popular sophomore Advanced Placement course AP World History will not be offered at Wilson next year. History Department Head David Heckler spearheaded termination of the course, seeing that it caused poor habits and many students were unprepared for the AP exam.
In a proposal to the Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO), Heckler cited numerous reasons to discontinue the course while also acknowledging its lack of diversity. In past years at Wilson, sophomores could choose to take World History II or AP World History-Modern (the AP curriculum only changed to “Modern” last year) for their socials studies credit. About 50 percent selected AP World History-Modern.
For those who elect to participate in AP World History-Modern, their year culminates in the AP World History exam. Discounting the adaptations forced by COVID-19, the exam is heavily writing-based and Heckler believes that students do not have the experience for such an exam that a college student likely would.
Grade inflation, late work, cheating, and procrastination are habits often adopted by students struggling to get by in the rigorous course. Heckler also believes that the joy of learning is gone, with students prioritizing getting through the class, rather than trying to learn from it. Along with outside factors, the course seems to incite stress while creating a setting where students feel worthless and unsuccessful. Though AP World History is an extremely informative class that also prepares students for future AP courses, its rigor and stress-inducing environment fails to create positive mental well-being.
Freshman Delaney Staudenraus finds it upsetting that the course may not be offered next year. “Honestly, I don’t know too much about the reason they are trying not to offer AP World History next year, but I do find it annoying that they are trying to take it away because it is a great class that is good too for your grades,” Staudenraus said.
As Staudenraus mentioned, a major factor drawing students to the course is the GPA boost it provides. Many students decide to take it, eyeing these benefits without considering the heavy workload that comes with the class. For these reasons, many are unprepared to take on the rigor, prompting the administration to decide that the course may be too much for Wilson’s sophomores.
Starting next year, all sophomores will be taking World History II, a regular course that is not an Honors or AP class. Though this has been met with some backlash from parents questioning about the rigor of the course, Heckler and the administration maintain that it will be best for students and for the school as a whole to eliminate AP World History.