English-Language Learners A National Roundup

Ore. School Mandates AP Course in Bid to Improve English Skills

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — September 20, 2005 1 min read

All juniors at Oregon’s North Eugene High School will be required to take Advanced Placement English this school year, as educators try to improve student achievement.

The 280 11th graders are required to take the AP Language and Composition course, in which students examine prose in a variety of genres and write expository, analytical, and critical papers related to their readings, said Principal Peter E. Tromba.

About 20 percent of high school students nationwide have access to AP courses, but only a handful of high schools provide the classes for all students, said Trevor Packer, who directs the program for the New York City-based College Board.

North Eugene has the most diverse student enrollment of all the high schools in Eugene, Ore., with minority students—primarily Hispanic and Native American—making up about 29 percent. Some 40 percent of the school’s students qualify for federally subsidized lunches.

The school has instituted extra study halls, tutoring, and other services to help students who might struggle with the more rigorous coursework, Mr. Tromba said.

He has received numerous complaints about the new requirement, he said, primarily from parents of high-achieving students who are concerned the inclusion of all students will lead to a watering-down of the course content.

A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 2005 edition of Education Week

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