Eye of the Editors: Advance Placement classes


Although Diamond Bar High School is already notorious for its academically rigorous curriculum, its competitive environment has resulted in a desire among students for increasingly advanced courses. 

Students dissatisfied with the curriculum will most often point to nearby high schools, such as Walnut High School and Troy High School, as examples of how the curriculum should be structured. Despite the opinions of some students on campus, allowing students of lower grade levels to take AP classes will do more harm than good.  

At Troy, students are allowed to take multiple Advanced Placement courses in their first year of high school, while those at DBHS aren’t allowed to take any AP classes as freshmen. However, since Troy is a magnet school that receives additional funding for its science program, it has more resources than the average public school, making it an unfair point of comparison. 

Walnut High School serves as a much fairer source of comparison, as both Walnut and Diamond Bar limit the grade levels that are allowed to take certain AP courses. The only difference is that Walnut allows its students to finish their physical education and elective course requirements as summer classes, so they are free to fill their academic year with more challenging courses. 

However, given the competitive academic atmosphere of DBHS, changing the curriculum would add to an already toxic environment that values achieving the highest grade possible, even if it means students must cheat their way through classes. This is on top of the logistical difficulties of having more students fill up classes that are already crowded.

Allowing freshmen to take AP classes will only further cement students’ mentality of only studying for a grade. High school is meant to prepare students to be knowledgeable citizens in the real world, and treating the classes as letters on a transcript sets students up for failure in their future college or workplace, as they will have to compete with people who used their education to better themselves. 

In fact, taking even more AP classes than the ones that Brahmas are already offered gives little benefits to their college applications. Not only do students need a rigorous course load that challenges them, they also need to get good grades in those classes. 

While a ‘B’ in a difficult class may look better than an ‘A’ in a regular class, a ‘C’ would look mediocre, no matter the circumstance. Moreover, a more burdensome course load would create more peer pressure for students to “catch-up,” even if they have already reached their limit. 

At the end of the day, there is more to getting into a good college than letters on transcripts. The school already encourages student outlook based on the 4 As, academics, athletics, arts and activities, thus students should continue to aim for success based on these principles. As much as colleges care about a ‘5’ in an AP course, they also care about your passion on the football field or your willingness to volunteer at homeless centers. 

Although the curriculum at Diamond Bar is far from perfect, increasing competition between underclassmen and upperclassmen is not the right path to take moving forward.