Advanced Placement Literature course sees enrollment drop

Mackenzie Sullivan, Staff Writer

After juniors finish writing their last essay for Advanced Placement Language and Composition, they most commonly enroll next in AP Literature and Composition for their senior year. The course includes helping students explore the world through reading and analyzing texts. But enrollment for next year’s classes have seen a dramatic drop off.

“A lot of times with AP classes is enrollment ebbs and flows, meaning it rises and falls like the tide,” Principal Rick Fleming said. “I think one of the big reasons is the uncertainty of who is going to be teaching the course. [Lynne] Bramlett is brand new this year and while our students have a good experience in her classes, a lot of the students rolling up do not really know Mrs. Bramlett, whereas [Mary] Nelson, who taught the class beforehand, had been teaching here for 12 years [before retiring]. Also, I think we have not done a great job of making the connection about why taking AP is important because colleges look at which students challenge themselves.”

The number of students enrolling in AP Literature varies every year. School testing coordinator Mike Drake said he has passed out more than 100 exams some years compared to others when he passed out 40.

“The No. 1 cause of students not taking AP Lit is they are trying to balance out their schedule,”  English IV Honors teacher Lisa Rehm said. “I have people taking dual-enrollment classes or a lot of AP courses. I would ask students why they were not taking AP Lit and they would say, ‘I’m taking four other AP classes,’ or they need to focus on senior project or Capstone. After they explained, I understood immediately.”

Bramlett previously taught in Gainsville at Bucholtz High School where she taught AP Lit with high pass rates from her students.

“The course is important because you need to be able to write in whatever class you take in college whether it is a science class, math class or a business class,” Bramlett said. “You need to know those skills. Also, literature exposes you to different ideologies around the world. We are becoming a very one-dimensional environment where we only see ourselves, and without being able to see other perspectives from other people different from us, we are going to collapse as a society.”

Bramlett said she creates an environment for students to be more open to learning about classic literature novels and engage in debates about the symbolism and other deeper meaning.

“It is just a really fun class,” senior Logan Jenkins said. “You learn a lot. The books that we have read are classics. They are all very good reads and I can say for the most part that everything we have read has a big impact on students’ understanding of literature.”

Rehm said her class is similar to AP Lit, except the reading outside of school is not as time consuming.

“I took [English IV Honors] because I want to go into a math driven career in my future,” senior Anastacia Devlin said. “My AP classes I took required a lot of time to study outside of school plus my senior project.”

According to College Board, the course exam has a 60.1 percent pass rate, making it ninth in terms of difficulty.

“I have always enjoyed reading and trying to understand a deeper message behind the text,” junior Bianka Albert said. “My parents also are making me take AP Lit but I would have chosen that course because besides science, English is one of my best subjects. Mrs. Bramlett seems like she would be a good teacher. I have heard positive things about her teaching.”