Madeline Reinsel 0

Standardize the Chemistry 1 Department at TJHSST

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Dear TJ Community,

I'm a junior at TJHSST. Last year, I was in Chemistry 1 Honors, which is what most sophomores take unless they are enrolled in AP Chemistry. Chemistry 1 Honors is a required class, so everyone takes it either during the summer before their sophomore year or during their sophomore year.

My complaint is that there is a huge disparity in the course load and the difficulty of tests that the Chemistry 1 teachers give out during the year. It is common knowledge among students that some teachers in the department are far easier or harder than others. Certain teachers have extremely lengthy and math-involved tests, while others give easier tests or curves. Is it also common knowledge that some teachers' students have lower chemistry grades than those of other teachers on average. These low grades, based mostly on homework and tests, negatively affect students' performance in other subjects, the amount that they are able to learn, and their GPA's.

I recognize that this is TJ and that a high standard of science learning is expected; that is, in fact, why I and others came to the school. However, when I came I did not expect such a large difference in the material level and course load of classes between teachers of the same subject. The difference in difficulty between teachers makes some Chemistry 1 classes seem like completely different courses from each other.

I propose that the department be standardized to reflect the intended curriculum, to make sure that the same is expected of each student, and to make sure that no student feels as if they are being punished by getting an exceptionally "hard" teacher. Much as the Physics 1 department is now standardized, this would still allow teachers to continue their own teaching methods and class activities. I recognize that many do not like standardization because it interferes with the teachers' creativity in the classroom. For this reason, I only propose that tests, large quizzes, and large homework assignments such as labs be kept at the same level across the Chemistry 1 department to create a more leveled learning environment. In the case of labs, teachers could still conduct the labs as they saw fit. As in the Physics 1 department, teachers would still be able to make the 3 hours and 40 minutes a week for which they teach students their own time to teach. If we want to ensure the fairness of our school and allow for equal opportunities for every student, we need to consider holding the classes of teachers of the same subject to the same standard.

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