Class time has been shortened for high schools in Anne Arundel County (AACPS) for the 2020-2021 school year affecting content covered in courses at the high school level, this has required teachers to cut curriculum even as Advanced Placement (AP) content is still expected to be covered in time for exams in May.
While AP classes have not been shortened, others haven’t been as well.
“Honors comparative religions is also full content,”social studies teacher Barbara Segnatelli said.
Although AP classes and some others still have a full length curriculum, math classes have had to be shortened.
“It is a challenge in math because the content builds on the skills from the class before,” math teacher Julie Lowman said. “Students’ success in the subsequent course is largely impacted by what they learned in their current math course.”
In addition to less content in math classes, science and technology education classes have been affected as well.
“I’m in honors physics, and my teacher, Mr. Moore talks a lot about how frustrating it is that he can’t teach us as much as he’s been able to teach past years,” junior Tyler Engleman said. “Also in my digital electronics class almost all projects have had to be modified because we can’t use the hands on or real circuit boards that we would use if everyone was in person.”
High school classes aren’t the only ones impacted by shortened classes; science classes at the middle school level are not teaching a full length curriculum.
“I notice more now that students aren’t having the same hands on opportunities that lead to growth and mastery of the science standards,” Meade Middle Science Department Chair Michele Schuler said. “It’s actually harder when there is less time to explore.”
Schuler also said that this year fundamental topics are taught, because “these are concepts that are carried over and are needed for mastery as students matriculate.” The same has been done on the high school level.
“Teachers are aware of what has been taken out or shortened and will help students fill in the gaps. We worked hard to make sure all the necessary skills were included,” Lowman said.
With less topics being taught this year, will students need to catch up next year? For the middle school level, Schuler did not have a definite answer. In contrast, high school teachers do not think there will need to be any catching up to do.
“Students will catch up quickly – I think the deficit is more social than academic and therefore will now be overcome now that students are back in the building,” Segnatelli said.