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Editorial: Tougher classes in middle school beneficial

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Local educators are smart to implement more rigorous courses at the middle school level so students are more prepared for challenging classes in high school and college.

Next school year, Central Middle School will use SpringBoard, the College Board’s official pre-Advanced Placement curriculum. The idea is to create a pathway to the high school AP courses offered by Columbus North and East high schools.

AP courses are designed to prepare students to take AP exams when they’re about to enter college. Good scores on the exams earn students college credits and savings on tuition and fees.

If all goes well with the Central Middle School pilot program, Northside Middle School could follow suit.

The curriculum changes are in response to high-level courses being added to high school degree requirements. Also, college admissions officers would rather see a rigorous transcript than one inflated with easy A’s.

Thus, the value of knowledge — what you have learned — is more important than a grade-point average.

Current seventh-graders will be selected to participate in the pilot program next year based on grade performance, input from teachers and parents, and students’ commitment to enrolling in future AP courses.

Teachers will be trained to incorporate the same type of vocabulary and exam questions used in the high school AP courses.

Certainly, some students will be pushed more than they ever have been by classes because they’ll no longer have soft schedules. But in the end, the future payoff is worth the time — and possible ups and downs — of taking challenging courses, starting in middle school.

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