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Blocking About: AP Statistics-AP Research block course next year demonstrates beneficial shift toward interdisciplinary learning at CHS

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Blocking About: AP Statistics-AP Research block course next year demonstrates beneficial shift toward interdisciplinary learning at CHS

Adhi Ramkumar

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Upon perusing the recently-released 2019-20 Program of Studies, I found an exciting addition to the already-large slew of AP, IB, PLTW and ACP courses at CHS: the AP Capstone Research-AP Statistics block class. Although I was slightly surprised at first glance, this new addition provides unprecedented opportunities for students to connect and develop their interests across multiple disciplines. According to the course description in the Program of Studies, data-analysis skills acquired from AP Statistics are intrinsic to performing thorough investigations in AP Capstone Research and vice versa. In the class, both AP Statistics and AP Research teachers will instruct students during a block period of 180 minutes.

Such a class format, however, is not new to Carmel High School. In the past, an AP U.S. History and AP English Literature and Composition block class was an option for students to consider; unfortunately, the class did not receive enough enrollment and was eliminated from the Program of Studies. While we do not have this option anymore, the introduction of the Statistics-Research block for incoming juniors and seniors next year provides students another opportunity to unconventionally take advantage of stellar resources available for students at this school.

The rationale behind the development of block classes is backed up by a large body of research. According to the Science Education Research Center at Carleton College, an interdisciplinary approach to learning comes with innumerable benefits for students, such as eliminating preconceived notions and potential biases, advancing cognitive development through build up of applicable critical-thinking skills, and embracing competing perspectives on topics. Likewise, High Tech High (HTH), a network of charter schools in San Diego, Calif., has been implementing a learning approach that emphasizes collaboration among science, math, and humanities classes through integrated studies; in fact, 87 percent of graduates from the HTH school system have either graduated from or are still enrolled in post-secondary education school. This statistic suggests that block courses could better equip students for post-secondary education, and hence boost retention and graduation rates beyond high school.

While I am currently a senior who is taking AP Statistics and AP Research independently of one another, I urge current sophomores and juniors to sign up for this course. I’m looking forward to seeing the growth of the AP Statistics-AP Research block class and hope this addition is just the beginning of many more interdisciplinary course choices to come in future years.

 

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About the Writer
Adhi Ramkumar, Perspectives Editor

My name is Adhi Ramkumar, and I am currently a veteran staff member serving as a Perspectives (op/ed) Editor alongside Brian Zhang for the HiLite. I am...

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