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AP Computer Science students approve combined classes

This year, with the decreased student enrollment in AP Computer Science, both classes have been combined into a single course. Photo by Maya Bussinger

This year, Bear River has combined the AP Computer Science classes due to decreased student interest.

Both AP CSA, which is a class teaching the programming language Java, and AP Principles, which expands on the basics of computers and then teaches Javascript, have been combined to accommodate the decreased student enrollment. Typically, AP Principles is taken before AP CSA as it is a prerequisite to AP Principles’ concepts. 

Computer Science teacher Jeremy Kerr commented on the situation.

“They are actually two separate classes with two totally different curriculums,” he said. “I’ve taught both classes as separate courses in the past. The problem is the amount of students in each class. The only way to have both courses is to combine them.”

The new plans on teaching the classes are not fully known, but Mr. Kerr disclosed the beginnings of his plan.

“Now that we’re going into the substance of the classes, it’ll be different for both which will create challenges,” he said. “I’m still trying to figure it out, but I think I have an okay idea as how to proceed.  Having the distant learning model – and soon to be hybrid – isn’t going to make anything easier.  But we’ll roll with it. Ask me the same question in a month and I’m sure I’ll have a different answer.”

Some AP Principles students are liking their class so far. Sophomore Zachary Schultz commented on the difficulties and eases of this combined class.

I think it would depend because we haven’t done anything too group-based yet but I would say that having the classes together would be better because those who are in CSA can help those who are in Principles struggling a bit.” 

Juniors Joshua Kors and Tyler Neuharth had a similar responses.

It is about the same, neither harder nor easier,” said Kors.

“Honestly due to the majority being in the easier AP Principles class, it will be overall easier for the overall AP Computer Science population because us older, more experienced coders like us can help those who are still learning,” said Neuharth. 

The majority of AP CSA students didn’t mind the joining of the classe as Neuharth expressed.

The class is going smoothly for me, personally not being in school doesn’t affect a computer class in any way. In fact, the double classes don’t affect me academically in any way because of the organization of the classes during zoom meetings. When we go back to school I can’t say that it will be the same sharing a classroom with another AP class.”  

Junior Rowan Knox remarked that this combination is not a big deal because AP CSA is mostly independent work, and that the combined classes don’t make a difference. 

“I don’t think there is a big change in difficulty for the students,” she said. “There’s a good deal of independent work for AP CSA, so having two classes doesn’t change the class a lot…  I do not think it would be easier if the classes weren’t combined. There’s enough time to cover content from both classes.”

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AP Computer Science students approve combined classes