Courses designated “Honors” in the Course Selection Guide cover more material, require more reading and writing, and move at a faster pace than the regular college-preparatory courses. Honors course teachers assume that students have mastered previously taught skills and content and do not devote much class time to reviewing past material or skills. Successful honors course students need to be more independent learners, adept at absorbing and applying factual information and concepts from texts, class lectures, and other sources without needing the teacher to “reteach” such material during class time. Students who may need occasional clarification must be comfortable initiating individual meetings with the teacher during office hours, so that the course can maintain a brisk pace.
Advanced Placement (AP) Courses.
AP courses are taught to college-level curriculum and standards approved by the College Board (CEEB) by instructors approved through the College Board. Colleges grant incoming students varying amounts of credit based on the student’s score on the AP exam in May. Each college establishes its own AP credit policies, which can vary widely between colleges and even between schools and departments within the same college.
AP courses are not for all learners
Besides entailing a great deal of work, AP courses draw heavily on certain academic skills and attitudes. They require the student to command a large amount of factual material, maintain a brisk pace, integrate and apply sophisticated concepts, learn from a “college teaching style,” employ strong writing and discussion skills, and cope with college-style tests and exams. Like successful college students, AP students must be comfortable learning on their own from lecture, a college-level textbook, and high-level supplementary reading -- without the teacher’s “going over” the material again in class, as may be done in other secondary school courses. AP courses are not for the disorganized, procrastinating, or sporadically motivated student – no matter how innately capable.
AP exam requirement and extra cost
Middleburg Academy, like other strong schools, maintains the credibility and rigor of its AP courses by requiring all AP course students to sit for the AP exam in May. The College Board’s AP exam fee is $90 for 2016-2017, payable at the beginning of the school year.
Departmental Approval for Honors and AP Courses
The good progress of strong students in ambitious courses needs to be the primary focus of the instructor, who is charged with maintaining the pace necessary to cover the course syllabus. To this end, Honors and AP courses have grade prerequisites and stringent departmental approval for enrollment. This is Middleburg Academy’s way of assuring students and instructors that each student’s academic profile augurs for success at an advanced level. The requisite “departmental approval” mentioned in the Course Selection Guide depends just as heavily on the student’s record of success, proven work ethic, and positive contribution to classes, as on the student’s innate aptitude and interest in the subject.
AP course load
Because of the work that AP courses require for success, Middleburg Academy counsels students to take no more than three of these courses per year.
GPA weighting for AP courses. Semesters 1 and 2 grades in AP courses receive a weighting of .5 points in our GPA calculations, to acknowledge the greater amount and higher quality of work that these courses require.