The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

Global Studies Inadequate Precursor to AP U.S. History

Every freshman must take Global Studies. For some students, the class is easy. I didn’t have to put any effort into my work, and I still earned a 115 percent at the end of the year. I already knew most of the material and I spent a lot of my time doodling in class.

Sophomore year I started AP U.S. History and I felt completely unprepared for the work. And I am not alone in thinking that Global Studies did not prepare us.

“It’s like saying, ‘Did preschool prepare you for high school?’” sophomore Mario Belfiglio said.

Other students didn’t feel prepared for the essays required in APUSH. Sophomore Lauren Jensen said that even though her Global Studies class had DBQs, they were completely based on the documents. In APUSH, there must be an even mix of documents and outside information and the documents are much more advanced.

While students such as Belfiglio think that an honors-level Global Studies would help, Social Studies Teacher Silvia Sheppard does not agree. She believes that it would be a huge jump from honors to AP anyway.

It’s a huge jump for students now. Sophomore Myah Marbury said that to get an A on an APUSH quiz, she’d “have to be writing the textbook.”

Sheppard said that she and the other Global Studies teachers try to teach how to write a decent essay, but that all the classes have different requirements.

Social studies teacher and former department chairman Terrence Pollack helped create Global Studies. He wanted to integrate students so that they could learn from one another. Pollack said that if all classes were tracked academically, students would be isolated in their own groups and have no real contact with others. He also said that it’s the teachers, not the courses, who prepare students for AP classes.

Some students said that their teachers helped, but they weren’t used to the work that APUSH requires — more reading, more tests and quizzes, more writing, and much more time than Global Studies.

In Global Studies, one night’s reading takes 20 minutes with good note-taking. In APUSH, one night’s reading can take anywhere from one to three hours, depending on the quality of notes one takes.

Pollack said that students should use help from teachers to their advantage in order to prepare for APUSH.       

That’s a nice theory.

But when a class such as Global Studies is easy for students, where does the motivation to work hard and prepare well come from?


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