HAP course should be an honors class

By Elise Gorberg and Gabriel Yoder Shenk

Last year, when we scheduled our science classes, we had the option to take either an AP class or a regular class.  We didn’t want to take an AP class, because we suspected it would turn an otherwise manageable academic calendar into a struggle to stay afloat.   Human Anatomy and Physiology (HAP), on the other hand,  is a regular course, applicable to real life.  Since science isn’t our strongest area of study, the course seemed like a good idea.

After taking HAP for about three weeks, we noticed that there was a nearly endless stream of projects, textbook readings and tests.  Our agendas are filled with HAP assignments on a daily basis.  Granted, the project-based nature of the class is a unique way to teach that perfectly reflects the 21st-century competencies; however, it comes at a cost: a hefty amount of independent work.
Even with PowerPoints that cover a lot of the information on tests, it takes copious studying to memorize thirty muscles, their locations, and their functions.  With labs during class and projects for homework, little time remains to simply study.  As a result, this regular course is more demanding than one might expect.

Two marking periods into the class, we imagine that AP Bio would have been only marginally more difficult, because of the similar subject matter and workload.  While it is unbecoming to complain about work that we signed up for, it is worth mentioning that HAP, a class that many people took to avoid the stress of an AP science class, has a curriculum not at all representative of its regular weighting.

Something to strongly consider for future years is that “regular” classes are supposed to allow students to learn the information taught in an honors course at a slower pace.  Much of  HAP consists of memorizing massive chunks of material for the next test while simultaneously finishing up a project. Therefore, WW-P should change HAP’s weight from regular to honors.  This would ensure that fewer kids struggle to succeed in the class, as well as add to the list of honors and AP courses, besides the daunting AP Bio and ToPhy, that students can take during their junior or senior year.

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