The new English elective AP Language and Composition will have 15 sections next year after attracting much attention from incoming juniors and seniors.
AP Language and Composition is an elective that was approved and added to the Palo Alto High School course catalog for the 2018-2019 school year. According to the College Board website, “The AP English Language and Composition course […] requires students to develop evidence-based analytic and argumentative essays that proceed through several stages or drafts.”
The class has been overwhelmingly popular with incoming juniors and seniors, so much so that enrollment in other English electives has dropped, according to Shirley Tokheim, the head of Paly’s English department.
“Enrollment decreased — predictably — but many electives are still running, including Humanities, Sports Literature, Comedy Lit, Communications, Writer’s Craft and Reading Between the Lines,” said Tokheim. “Next year there will be five teachers teaching 15 classes of AP Lang.“
Humanities is among the English electives affected by the introduction of AP Language and Composition. According to Humanities teacher Mimi Park, the amount of students enrolled has dropped significantly.
“Humanities has definitely been impacted,” Park said. “This past year there were seven classes and next year there will only be three, so that’s about a hundred students fewer.”
According to sophomore Sophie Jacob, who signed up for AP Language and Composition, the appeal stems from a lack of knowledge about other English electives as well as the appeal of an English AP available for juniors.
“I needed to take an English elective but I didn’t know much about the electives on offer, so when I heard that a bunch of my friends were taking the class, which was an AP also offered to juniors, I chose to take it as well,” Jacob said.
The enrollment in AP Language and Composition has also potentially affected electives outside of those offered as English electives. Enrollment in AP US History, for example, has dropped, according to Jack Bungarden, the teacher of the class.
“This year we had four mostly full classes,” said Bungarden. “But next year we only have two very full classes.”