The freshman composition class at Andover High School will not be offered starting next year because the new schedule allows for the fewer classes.

The new full-year schedule will incorporate 5 periods into each school day, with students taking a total of 7 credits instead of 7.5 or 8. Freshman will take a language arts class all year; therefore, there will be no need for an additional English class.

Ms. Patricia Whalen, the head of the English Department, said, “The composition class was made so freshman students were taking English all year round. Now that there is a full-year schedule starting and freshman will take L.A. the entire year, it isn’t necessary to have it anymore.”

The plan is to incorporate parts of the composition curriculum into the language arts classes. Ms. Mitchell, a composition teacher, said the teachers want to “take some of the curriculum and putting it in freshman year, take some and put it in sophomore year” so that the class won’t disappear completely.

The composition class was created to help students improve on the material that was coming up on the MCAS. It was designed to focus in more detail on the material on the standardized tests in hopes of an increase in students scores.

Senior Olivia Couto said her english and composition classes “worked in harmony together” and “[helped] improve [her] English skills.”

However, the plan to incorporate the curriculum into the language arts classes may not end up going as smoothly as teachers have envisioned it to. Ms. Mitchell stated that her concern is that, “even when the topics move to L.A., it loses some of the opportunity to do a personal piece on a topic that you get in the composition class”.

The composition class did in fact help students with the certain areas of language arts in which they were struggled in before, and there has been an increase in the language arts MCAS scores.

“We had to write essays at least once a week,” said Couto and that “helped [students]us learn to write essays more quickly and efficiently.”

Many students and teachers alike have expressed the concern that when we try to merge the two classes together again, some of the material from the composition class would be lost, and even lead to another decline on MCAS scores.
By Sarah Cain