Thursday, May 22, 2008

Honors Courses Give Way To AP Rigor

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 19, 2008; Page B01

Honors classes, once the pinnacle of pre-collegiate study, are gradually being eliminated at some of the region's top high schools, on the theory that the burgeoning Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs have rendered them obsolete.

In the fall, Rockville High School will be the first campus in Montgomery County not to offer honors English as an option for seniors. School systems in Fairfax and Loudoun counties have scaled back their honors programs in recent years. Prince William County schools have abandoned the honors label altogether.

The decline of honors courses mirrors the expansion of AP and IB, nationally recognized programs that present high school students with college-level work. In many area schools, those programs have effectively replaced honors as the top college-preparatory track. At least one area high school, Bell Multicultural in the District, now requires students to take at least two AP courses and the corresponding end-of-year exams.

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