Take Biology as freshmen; eliminate CPS/QPS


Image courtesy of chclc.org.

The current science curriculum map assumes that freshman students take either CPS A or QPS H.

Students should take Biology during their freshman year at Cherry Hill High School East, thus eliminating the need for CPS (Conceptual Physical Science) or QPS (Quantitative Physical Science) courses. Taking Biology freshman year would eliminate the need to double on sciences in order to take AP science courses and exams, and would allow the students to have a more diverse curriculum. It would also prevent students from taking important classes online, which can be costly and deprive students of the full educational experience of the classroom. The elimination of CPS and QPS would also prevent the unnecessary repetition in the student’s science curriculum while not diminishing their science education. Students who want to take the AP test in one of the science classes offered at East currently need to take two sciences in one year, if they want to take introductory courses in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. While doubling up on the sciences is not itself a bad thing, it often requires the student to eliminate an elective or take a required course online. High school is a time for students to expand their horizons, and they can do this by taking electives of their choice. Taking two sciences results in a narrow curriculum for the student who is still in their mid-teens. Students may think that they know what they want to do in the future, but really they usually have no idea. Exposure to a wide variety of courses enhances the student’s ability to decide what academic major and career path they may want to follow in the future. Thus, eliminating the ability to take electives diminishes a student’s overall academic experience. Taking a course online to free up a spot in the student’s schedule also has its drawbacks. The online courses offered for credits through our school are costly and puts unnecessary pressure on a family choosing to send their child to public school. Taking online courses also deprives the students of the camaraderie and discussion that comes with classroom learning. For example, at East, many students who double up on the sciences opt to take US History online. The value of the educational experience comes through class discussions and debates, which are absent when taking a course online. Students seem to make US History less of a priority when taken online and miss out on fundamental concepts that affect them as citizens in their everyday lives. In addition, taking CPS or QPS freshman year instead of Biology creates unnecessary repetition in the student’s science curriculum. Virtually all of the concepts taught in CPS and in the chemistry portion of QPS, are subsequently re-taught in Chemistry I. A student who opts to take Chemistry IA after completing CPS or QPS will learn very little new material the whole year. Likewise, students taking QPS are exposed to basic Physics concepts in that course, and again in Physics I. By taking Biology freshman year and eliminating the courses of CPS and QPS, students will have the opportunity to learn new material every year. One could argue that the repetition of Chemistry and Physics concepts is necessary to a student’s true comprehension of these subjects. However, by enrolling in a year-long course a student can understand an introduction to Chemistry without taking an introduction to the introduction of Chemistry, which is what CPS and QPS essentially are. Also, Cherry Hill’s middle school science curriculum, which teaches basic concepts of life, physical and Earth sciences, provides enough of a foundation for students to enter introductory Biology, Chemistry, or Physics right out of middle school, without the extra year of CPS or QPS. Taking Biology as freshmen and eliminating CPS and QPS would benefit East students.