Thursday, May 07, 2009

AP Physics at Rio... We hardly knew ye

Or perhaps we knew ye all too well. Either way, with a scant 18 sign-ups in AP Physics for the 2009-10 academic year, the school has decided not to run the course. Registered seniors are being encouraged by their counselors to take an equivalent course at American River College, per administrative instructions.

Rio will entertain sign-ups for the 2010-11 school year. If the demand meets the school's student-to-teacher ratio staffing ratio needs, the course will be resurrected. From what I can tell, there would then be no attempt to register students for the 2011-12 academic year; the idea being that we should go with an every other year approach.

UPDATE: It appears Rio's AP Physics has been granted a reprieve. For now. Enrollment is 21-ish by my count.


J Gates said...

18 - that's not enough?!

Lee Trampleasure said...

Dean, do your school teach AP Environmental Science? If so, has it drawn students away from AP Physics? Any ideas where they are going, or if the students have just all become lazy :-)

Anonymous said...

Aren't there less than 19 students currently enrolled in AP Phyz?

Anonymous said...

Aren't there less than 19 students currently enrolled?

Dean Baird said...

@J - Our schools are staffed on a typically ridiculous California ratio like 33/1. Our contract allows for up to 165 students per teacher. Well, 165 when times are good. Up to 178 when things aren't good. We're "lucky" in our science department to have a cap of 32 students per class.

That said, you can likely tell a lot about a school's priorities by where it allows low-enrollment courses to run. The administration must weigh approaching the ratio against offering an AP course. Last year, it appears the priority favored the AP course offering. This year it favors approaching the staffing ratio.

@Lee - AP Bio and AP Phyz numbers have been low of late. AP Chem draws well enough. Mind you, we get 200-250 students in Physics 1. We market AP Phyz to them, but interest has declined.

A year-end article in the student newspaper last year expressed disdain for AP courses in general. Why would anyone elect to take a difficult course during their senior year? And then pay money to take an exam?

@Anon - Rio's AP Physics began the 2008-09 school year with 17 students. Three dropped at semester.

Anonymous said...

These are tough times for the world of Phyz. Hopefully there will be a light at the end of this tunnel.

Anonymous said...

It is sad to see that so little students are interested in science in general in this country. They need to get kids interested in science early on (in elementary school level).