By Kevin Ludy ’19
The 2016-2017 school year is coming to a close and students are getting ready for summer, but one thing is spoiling the joyous mood: summer assignments. Every year, Staples releases the summer assignment list for AP classes. These rigorous tasks are intended to prepare students for the coming year, but in reality they only waste the valuable, precious moments of summer.
In order to allow students to completely enjoy their time off, summer assignments should be made optional.
The ideal summer is one filled with trips to the beach, nights spent gazing toward the stars and, in general, taking your mind off the stress caused by the school year. Students work hard, and these three months of rest are necessary for them.
Giving mandatory summer assignments defeats this purpose and cheats students out of this necessary time of relaxation. If other classes can fit their whole curriculum in one regular school year, why can’t AP classes do the same? Yes, they are college level classes, but an AP class at Staples meets four times a week, which in general is substantially greater than an actual college class.
Don’t get me wrong, I realize the importance of doing work during the summer as the “summer slide” can happen. The summer slide is the unintentional process of losing knowledge from the school year over the summer, and the main reason that classes review when students come back in September.
The “slide” is something that deserves to be acknowledged and fixed, but retaining educational gains can be achieved in less rigorous ways than through summer assignments. Having shorter, easier assignments could prevent the slide without overwhelming students.
If the school decides to keep the current load of summer assignments, they should at least be made optional. Students can work for a personal advantage, and instead of dreading the assignment they would see it as a way to get ahead.
When the school offers lessons over the summer that prepare you for your AP classes and help you with summer assignments, that should be a red flag that maybe the tasks are too demanding for students. If someone has to take a $180 class just to feel prepared for the year and receive help on the summer assignment, I think it reflects on how the class is overly challenging.
Students at Staples are in school for approximately half of the year. Throughout the 182 days, many great academic achievements can be made, especially in an AP class. Summer assignments need to be made optional, as they overwhelm students and unfairly make summer stressful.
Taking a step back and seeing what you can change to positively affect students and their view of summer assignments should be the priority of the school. Changing the perception of summer assignments by making them optional will enable students to be completely relaxed and enjoy summer. Ensuring that everyone is ready to go when the next school year starts is important, and making summer assignments optional achieves this.