AP English IV: Barriers and Bridges added to curriculum

By Tiffanie Young

AP English IV: Barriers and Bridges, which was approved by the Faculty Academic Committee last November, will replace English IV: Barriers and Bridges in September.

Once again, seniors will be required to take an AP English course, but the new course will prepare students for the AP Language and Composition exam, while AP English IV: In Search of Self, will continue to prepare students for the AP Literature and Composition exam.

This year, students who took the non-AP English course were unwittingly being placed at a disadvantage because the AP course comes with a one-point boost in the grade point average, upper school FAC head Kent Nealis said.

“Now there’s more of a level playing field in terms of fairness in GPA’s coming out of our English program,” English department chair Larry Weber said.

“It’s more on an order of fine tuning and adjusting rather than a major curriculum shift,” Nealis said.
Weber, who proposed the course, hopes that the new English curriculum will also better prepare students for college freshman-level English.

The two senior courses will be “slightly different in focus and slightly different in intensity,” Weber said.
AP Literature is more rigorous in close reading analysis and more “hit the ground running,” Weber said, while the AP Language and Composition course will focus not only on literature, but also on essays and nonfiction, as well as being a more writing tutorial-intensive class.

According to Weber’s proposal, the new course’s texts will still include works by writers such as Toni Morrison, William Shakespeare, and Joan Didion.

The prerequisite for the new course is completion of either English III or English III Honors.
Students should decide which course to take through consultation with their current English teacher and dean, in context of the other courses in their schedule, Nealis said.

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