DBHS Student Publication.

The Bull's Eye

Letter to the Editors

Chris Holmes, DBHS biology teacher

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To the editorial staff of the Bulls Eye;

I am writing in response to the Eye of the Editor of April 26. In the editorial, the Bull’s Eye staff stated it is too easy to get into an AP class at DBHS. The editors cite a concern that the presence of low-ability students in AP classes drags down the quality of the entire program. I would like to raise a few points to consider on this topic.

DBHS is a world leader in AP participation. One major strength here is the large volume of AP classes available to students, and the high number of passing scores achieved each year.

Over the past 10 years, Diamond Bar has followed recommendations from a variety of national organizations including the College Board, high school rating services such as US News and World Report and, most importantly, The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

All of these organizations understand that AP classes provide rigor and college preparation for students that they otherwise would not get.  Statistics are clear that if a student completes an AP class in high school, they have a much greater chance of graduating from college.

Diamond Bar takes pride in being a nationally ranked high school. That ranking is due in no small part to our increasing AP participation rate. The editorial used the word ability a number of times. However, AP courses and their exams are no longer dependent on a student’s’ “innate” ability.

The editors demand the use of application and entrance exams. Not only is there no hard science to support using these measures, but the presence of such artificial hurdles may have lasting negative effects on the academic outcomes of some students.

In a 2006 report by The College Board, Rick DuFour, a well known educator, says, “It is a common misconception to think that ‘certain’ students cannot succeed in Advanced Placement courses because they are not gifted or highly academic.

“The reality is I have seen the average student be successful in AP courses based on work ethic and interest in the course. We are operating in the wrong frame of mind if we create barriers for entry into these courses.” (The College Board, 2006, pg. 28)”

“A rising tide lifts all boats.” A quality educational institution works to give every member the support necessary for success.  The inclusivity of the AP program at Diamond Bar is a strength, not a weakness.  It is the reason so many graduates from this school go on to experience lifelong academic and professional success.

Chris Holmes

DBHS biology teacher

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DBHS Student Publication.
Letter to the Editors