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Improving the Advanced Placement Program

Updated: May 5, 2023

A staple to any high school curriculum is Advanced Placement classes, also known as AP. These classes are designed to challenge students with college-level coursework.

Rialto High School should improve the AP program in order to provide the best experience for students. As of now, there are 38 different AP courses according to the College Board, the organization in charge of AP exams. At RHS though, our selection is limited to 13 courses.

Students are asked to sign a mandatory agreement saying that they understand that they cannot be removed from the class once they are there. These agreements are made by the school and are not required by the College Board. This might be troubling for students since course selections for the upcoming school year are done in the spring.

A lot can change for a student between the time they choose their classes and the beginning of the next school year. Students should be given at least a month to decide if they wish to remain in the class considering the deadline for the school to order AP exams is in November. It’s like buying a car, you want to test drive it before you commit to buying it.

While there are few circumstances where students can be dropped from a class, in order to make up credits, it is not common for students to be allowed to leave the class. This change will not require any money and will help students take the classes they actually want to take.

Furthermore, AP classes should have a smaller class limit than regular classes. According to the Rialto Unified School District, the maximum class size for a high school class is 36 students. For AP classes, the maximum should be lowered to at most 25 students per class.

In an AP class, students require more individualized help than those in a regular class. This is the reason why almost all AP teachers offer tutoring before and after school, which they do not get paid for. This might also be why some teachers may be hesitant to teach an AP course since they would be doing more work for less compensation.

Providing more assistance to AP students will help them understand the material and will consequently help them succeed. The least the school can do is provide those students who want to succeed with an adequate learning environment. Small changes like these would encourage students to put themselves out there and try taking an AP course.


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