Advanced Placement enrollment on a decline

Darienne Malaluan, Reporter

Sponsored by the College Board, the Advanced Placement (AP) program has been helping to prepare students for college work. At the end of the school year, every student must take an AP Exam, in hopes to get an eligible score. Getting a  score of either three or higher on their AP Exam, will qualify students to receive college credit. This year, AP Sign-ups have been drastically reduced at James Campbell High School (JCHS). 

Julie Ramos, one of the registrars at JCHS, was able to share a small data table between 2019 – 2020 of AP sign-ups, and the sign-ups between 2020-2021. According to the data table, 3 out of 15 AP courses haven’t been getting as many students this school year: AP Physics, AP Human Geography, and lastly AP Art History with the lowest total of 8 student sign-ups. Comparing back in 2019-2020, all three of those courses were at least twice the size as it is this year. 

With numbers this low, courses are at risk of shutting down the next following school year. As for the rest of the AP courses, most of them have a total of either around 20 to 50 students, leaving AP World History, AP Comp Science A, and AP Comp Science Principles being the only two classes with around 100 students. Just recently, every AP teacher had a board meeting about the following courses. Due to the low amount of AP sign-ups, some of the courses may no longer be available next school year, according to one of the AP teachers themselves. But where are the students going exactly besides taking AP classes.

KinShing Cheng, an AP Psychology teacher, has been working at JCHS since 2000, teaching general Social Studies courses. In 2005, Cheng was able to get a recommendation to become part of the Advanced Placement Program. Cheng said, “In order to teach AP, we need to go through the AP training, so every teacher has to take workshops on how the AP Program works.”

Cheng shared his opinions on why students haven’t been signing up for Advanced Placement (AP) classes as before, stating that, “We also have a IB program, and the IB program and AP do not mix. Say if a student wants to do IB, but they also want to take the AP exam, it’s very hard. They can’t do both. And some students drop the idea because they’re taking International Baccalaureate (IB) already. So they don’t bother taking both IB and AP.”

Chaiya-Danika Miquel, a junior at JCHS, has been taking Early College courses since her sophomore year. Miquel is currently not attending any Early College courses for her junior year, but was able to have her own opinions on why she prefers Early College over AP and IB. Miquel prefers Early College because she felt that, “Early College felt less rigorous than all of the other options to those who presented to me with. Having the thought of me doing AP or IB, it made it seem challenging and a bit frightening. Taking Early College, I was able to get that college experience on what it was like to learn from a college professor.” Despite not taking any Early College courses, Miquel might however continue to take some more courses in her Senior year.

Kayla Angelie Romero, a senior at JCHS, preferred AP classes because none of the other options, like International Baccalaureate(IB) or Early College stood out to her the most. Romero also felt that, “I won’t be able to handle taking classes from either IB or Early College. Whenever I think about both programs, I feel that they’re only gonna stress me out more. Choosing AP classes, I’ll be able to keep my mind, and work at a steady pace.”

Romero’s opinions on the AP sign-ups plummeting is that Early College has an easier approach when it comes to college credits claiming that, “Early College is the best option students prefer over AP or IB since both programs, students need that acceptable score on their exams in order to earn that college credit.” Romero has been taking AP classes ever since her time as a junior at JCHS, and is currently ending her senior year with both AP Psychology and AP Literature being the last AP classes she’ll take.

Here is a podcast discussing the experiences of students in the AP program, the International Baccalaureate program, and the Early College Program: Get with the Program – playlist on program offerings at James Campbell High School