AP English Literature Could Be Making a Comeback For the 2019-2020 School Year

AP English Literature Could Be Making a Comeback For the 2019-2020 School Year

Ruthie Gustason, Co-Editor-in-Chief

AP English was last taught at Linn-Mar during the 2016-2017 school year, to a class of fewer than ten students. Linn-Mar is the only major high school in the Cedar Rapids area not teaching AP English as an on-site class regularly, due to low student interest in prior years. Two years have passed since the class was last offered, and yet AP English has never been removed from the Program of Studies.

“I think we see value in it. We have AP in all the other core areas— multiple courses in most of them, actually— and I think that students would be very interested in taking the class if they saw what it was like,” said Associate Principal Joe Nietert. “We want kids to know they can sign up for it, so we haven’t taken it off of the list.”

“I think it’s important for students who are very avid readers to have an academic outlet for that beyond what is already being taught,” said Linn-Mar teacher Bryan Mangano. “There are lots of great electives at Linn-Mar, but they aren’t really designed to raise the intensity level in the way that AP English is. The opportunity to earn college credit– different credit than what is already offered by the composition courses– is something that should be offered to students.”

Currently, the high school offers no upper level comprehensive English class past Advanced English III. The only way for a Linn-Mar student to take AP English through the high school is online; however, only AP English Language is offered, enrollment is limited to students in the TAG program, and only six students may sign up for each course. The magic number for offering the class on-campus is fifteen, give or take a couple students.

“Last year we had nine or ten students sign up, and we did consider offering it,” said Nietert. “But in a school this large it’s hard to justify taking those resources away from a possible full class.”

If AP English were to be offered on-campus, it would be a three-quarter block class leading up to the AP Exam in April. Most colleges and universities offer some form of credit to students who score high enough on the AP Exam. A score of a four or a five on the AP English Literature test earns students credit at both the University of Iowa and Iowa State, while UNI awards credit for scores of three or above.

“I think there are really two goals in teaching AP English,” said Mangano. “The first is to prepare students to take the AP Exam and earn college credit. Every day shouldn’t be test prep, though, and the larger goal is to equip students with the skills that prepare them for life and all kinds of reading they may do in the future. For some kids, this may be their last English class.”

Registration for the 2019-2020 school year is set to open on January 24th, so students interested in taking AP English should talk to their counselor and plan to register for the class online later this month.