According to the Marlborough Student Handbook, “the Marlborough community enables each student to develop her fullest potential.” This means that the School community is meant to foster individuality and encourage students to pursue their passions. It therefore seems ironic that some departments offer more advanced-level classes than others.
Students looking to challenge themselves in English and literature, for example, are faced with fewer AP and honors options than those who are more interested in taking advanced courses in math and science. We at the UltraViolet believe that Marlborough should offer a greater range of English courses for students in order to foster equal opportunity and allow students to pursue academic excellence in all subjects.
At Marlborough, students can begin to take honors courses in math and science in 9th grade. If a student demonstrates a proficiency in math on her math placement exam, she is allowed to skip 7th grade Pre-Algebra so that by the 8th grade, she is taking an honors math course. By comparison, students must wait until 11th grade to take an honors or AP-level English class.
Unlike in math and science, where different courses present different skills and content, skills like essay writing and close reading are required in all English classes. We understand that in the current system, students are able to learn and master important English skills and then demonstrate their knowledge in more advanced classes. While there seems to be some logic to this, we still believe that more options for English classes are crucial for the School and students.
The School offers only one English track in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. In 10th grade, students have the option to continue with English II or take American Studies. However, American Studies does not necessarily mimic the academic rigor of advanced math and science courses like 9th grade Honors Biology and Geometry Honors, which move at a considerably faster pace than their non-honors equivalents.
The School should offer advanced English classes starting in the 9th grade in order to encourage students to explore their interests in English by allowing them to challenge themselves at an earlier age.
We at the UltraViolet believe that Marlborough needs to cater to the needs of students who find English and literature more stimulating than math and science. This means creating more advanced English classes for middle school students to develop their skills and challenge their abilities.