Ridgewood High School is recognized for its extent and variety of classes. All these classes are grouped into four major tiers: CT, CP, Honors, and Advanced Placement. There are other exceptions, but students tend to have classes in these levels. One thing that other students and I have dealt with for the majority of our high school careers is the purpose of forming an ideal schedule that will be manageable enough to excel in and also expel a positive image for college applications. As a result, students are constantly vying to be placed in higher weighted classes. Teachers do a fairly consistent job when assessing whether or not a student is right for a certain class. However, a question that is raised is, with the sheer quantity of students at RHS, are these class placements accurate?
Freshman and sophomore year, I was in all CP classes. I was fairly fine with my grades, and satisfied with where I was. However, at the end of 10th grade, I began to question the system more and more. Would I be doing better if I was in a higher class? Going to one of my teachers, I requested that she place me in an honors class. She rightfully refused, as my grade in the class was below her accepted minimum to move me up. This had happened the previous year, and I was fine with it. However, I wasn’t willing to accept the decision this time around. I went to my guidance counselor, and made a momentous decision, one that I had told myself I would never do. I “forced” myself up to a more advanced class, overriding the teacher’s judgement. I truly believed in myself as a student, and felt that I would do better in a faster-paced learning environment.
As it turns out, I was right. I enjoy my classes much more now that I have found the right fit for myself, and enjoy the coursework. However, many adults were justifiably concerned that I wouldn’t do well. My teacher’s decision was 100% for my well-being, and I did not blame her at all for choosing not to recommend me. However, this chain of events might show that there is something wrong with the system, and sometimes, under an adult’s higher jurisdiction, a student’s instincts may be right. Kaylin Marshall, a junior at RHS, states, “I forced myself from Chemistry CP to Physics Honors going into 11th grade because my teacher wouldn’t recommend me. It ended up working out and I now have an A in the class.” My situation doesn’t necessarily apply to just me, as shown by Kaylin’s similar experience.
All in all, recommending students shouldn’t just be a whole decision made on the teacher and administration’s part. It should be a discussion between both parties in order to determine the best fit in classes for a student. By underestimating students, we risk not giving them the learning experience they deserve.
Graphic: Ryan Rhew