SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A year after voters approved a post-Labor Day start date for Roosevelt High School, worries that students wouldn’t have enough time to study for May advanced placement tests haven’t materialized.
Seven out of 10 students in Sioux Falls who took AP exams last spring passed, a slight increase from the year before, the Argus Leader (http://argusne.ws/2ckMYJ2 ) reported. But students and teachers said they felt squeezed by the new schedule, and the district saw a drop in AP class enrollment.
Students such as senior Caroline Moriarty say they sacrificed lunch breaks and holidays to prepare for the tests.
“I had to be home doing homework all the time,” Moriarty said.
After Murphy Cauble spent his winter break last year immersed in AP chemistry homework, he opted not to take AP physics this fall as a junior.
“A lot of the time that we have off has to be spent doing a lot of work,” Cauble said. “I wasn’t looking forward to doing that again.”
Teachers also had to find ways to fit in extra material during lunch periods and holiday breaks.
AP physics teacher Barb Newitt spent her summer developing three weeks of independent study coursework for students to complete over the holidays. She worries the new schedule hurts students who want to earn college credit but who require more classroom instruction.
“When the conditions are less than ideal, they’re probably not going to succeed,” Newitt said.
The number of students in Newitt’s AP physics class in fall 2015 dropped by almost half compared with the previous year, a trend she partly attributes to the compacted schedule.
Superintendent Brian Maher said the drop in AP enrollment could be caused by anything. AP enrollment fluctuates each year. Last year’s numbers were down, particularly for math and science subjects, but they were still higher than two years ago.
“We can’t dismiss it (the calendar change) as a contributing factor,” Maher said. “But to say it’s the cause — we wouldn’t have a basis for that.”
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com