Advantages of Honors and Advanced Placement Classes

Clifford Adelman, noted author and senior research analyst for the U.S. Department of Education, conducted a long-term study that tracked the educational experiences of a large national sample of high school students from 10th grade through college. The recently published findings are significant. Adelman found that students who took challenging courses while in high school had a much better chance of finding success in college, and particularly, a much higher change of finishing a bachelor’s degree than their classmates who chose easier, less demanding classes. Transcript grades and entrance exam scores were much less significant indicators. In addition, the current trend among college admissions officers is to give much more weight and consideration to the courses that students have taken in high school than to admission test scores (ACT, SAT, etc.) and overall high school grades. In an age of concern over grade inflation and national discussion over the value of standardized test, this fact remains clear. Students who have had the opportunity to take advances courses while in high school are more likely to find success in the university classroom. It is a fact that students (and their parents) need to know as they plan their courses of study from 9th through 12th grade. The Advanced Placement curriculum with its standards of instruction based upon a national exam and extensive faculty in-service through workshops sponsored by the College Board can provide the best and most thorough curricula to reach this end.

[Adelman, C. The Toolbox Revisited: Paths to Degree Completion From High School Through College. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, 2006. http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/toolboxrevisit/toolbox.pdf

A Helena High School Honors English Student Will:

  • engage in college preparatory course work.
  • read more complex, challenging, and varied literature.
  • participate in substantive classroom discussion about literature.
  • manage long-term and multi-tasked assignments as well as independent study.
  • produce a greater quantity and higher quality of writing that demonstrates thoughtful revision.
  • tackle extensive close readings of complex texts.
  • accept and participate in critical evaluation of one’s work.
  • complete mandatory course and enrichment readings outside of class.
  • explore the role of literature in the world outside of the classroom.
  • demonstrate accountability for deadlines.
  • learn and apply more sophisticated course-specific vocabulary.
  • accept increased personal responsibility for learning.