VMSS should add higher-level classes


Photo by Kacee Wells

Kacee Wells, Opinion Editor

Sometime throughout your school experience, you will be placed in a class that is just too easy. I realize that there is an advanced class in math, but what about the other classes like Communications, American Studies, Science, and English? In high school, they have higher- level classes. Why don’t we have some sort of higher-level classes as well?

Even if the level of classes right now is perfect for you, this change would still be beneficial. Here’s why: if the teacher doesn’t have to worry about students who already know what the teacher’s teaching, she has more time to focus on all the other students.

The school would not have to add more classes. There would be the same number of classes, just different classes. It’s all about balance. For example, say there are 5 ELA classes with 30 students each (150 student total), and let’s say there are about sixty students who would be in higher level classes that make two new classes that are higher level. What about everyone else? Well, that’s where balance is really key; basically, everyone else would be split among the other 4 sections.

Something else to be considered is what exactly the higher-level classes would teach. I know that the advanced math class teaches the 8th-grade curriculum, and I think that could really work for higher level classes.

How would the school filter students into the higher-level classes? I believe a good method for this would be a multi-step process: 1. You must apply because if you’re happy in the class you’re in, why change? 2. You must have at least a B in that class (that’s just because they would need to know you can succeed in a higher-level class). 3. You must pass (in this case passing does not mean 100%) a test to make sure you know the information in 7th grade because you would be going into the 8th grade curriculum. 4. There might need to be a final filter step, depending on how many students get this far.

How do we know there are enough students for this change? Well, I think the answer is simple. Remember in 5th and 6th grade when you always heard GT (gifted and talented) announcements? GT had a lot of 6th grades that are now 7th graders that could apply for the higher-level classes.

What about transferring out of a higher-level classes? I talked about transferring in and out of classes in depth in my article titled “switching class sections should be easier,” and I think that it would be a very similar process, except the school would need to find a way around one thing: curriculum differences. In higher-level classes, students would be taught at an 8th-grade level so they may not know all the necessary information to succeed in a non-higher-level class. This problem would need to be considered and worked out.

I think that everyone would benefit from higher-level class options being added to Valley Middle School.