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Environmental Science at Berkeley High School
I would appreciate information on the AP Environmental Science class at BHS. My 10th grader would like to take the class next year but friends -- all planning on AP Physics etc -- have said it is a joke class. Hard to believe an AP class is a joke class ... information from a parent of a kid who has actually taken the class would be great. Thanks in advance. Another BHS parent
Is it a joke? Well, in part it depends on the teacher - my daughter's teacher was, let's put it this way, undemanding...but her friend had a different teacher who seemed to be a bit more challenging. But here's the other thing - it's seen as a ''gateway'' AP for kids who might not be otherwise inclined to try an AP class...so I think at least one of the teachers makes a conscious effort to err on the side of being unintimidating. So yes, it's (literally) a walk in the park. But that might be OK. Or that might be frustrating if your kid wants more. ??
The difficulty of the class depends on a few things. The first variable is the teacher: one of the teachers is more rigorous and demanding than the other. The second, and most important, variable is the student. Students who are interested in environmental science and who want to get a lot out of the class will. The students who take APES just so they'll have an AP on their transcript generally do the minimum amount of work necessary to get the grade they want. These are the students who end up struggling to understand the material when AP Exam season starts up in May.
I think that one of the reasons students think that APES is a ''joke'' is because the homework is usually reading, and kids make the mistake of thinking that reading isn't actually work. Personally, I think that the course can be a worthwhile experience and a good way to ease kids into college-level coursework. Meg
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