How Do Honors Classes Differ From Normal Classes?

Difference between Honors and non-Honors classes

Students+in+Mrs.+Dillender%27s+ACP+Calculus+class+ask+questions

Students in Mrs. Dillender’s ACP Calculus class ask questions

Azir Sibic, Sophomore Writer

Are Honors classes only meant for exceptional students who reach for the stars? How much more difficult is it to pass an Honors class in comparison to a normal class? Looking at two examples from Government and Communication Arts classes, student experiences as well as teacher experiences show the differences and similarities between honors, and non-honors classes.

Sophomore student, Hunter Hubble, is part of Mr. Allen’s non-honors Government class. From the homework that students are given, to what the curriculum covers, there is a difference in how the students are taught. 

“Right now we’re learning about the legislative branch. I’m pretty sure we’re moving on to executive or judicial afterwards,” said Hunter about what they are covering in class, as well as saying that with homework they get, “None. And when we have to do an essay we get a bunch of time to do it.”

Compared to other students that are part of government but not in Hunter’s class, they say that the curriculum is about the same, but the pace is slightly off.

“My honors classes follow the same curriculum but [the students] are required to master a higher-level understanding of the material,” Honors government teacher Mrs. Dana Skrabacz said. 

This contrasts with the Communication Arts classes and the Social Studies classes is quite different. Students say that the Communication Arts classes are more in depth and focus on independent studying. Mrs. Cummiskey, teacher of the honors CA Freshman through Junior classes and acting teacher, teaches AP Lit, which is one of the reasons why she has a strict curriculum; in order to make sure that they score well on the college test.

We read fairly a lot. It’s mostly analysis and dissecting the work of authors – annotations. We’re also expected to read our own books in our free time. But the point is – we’re always reading,” Jordan Wynn, a sophomore in Mrs. Cummiskey’s honors CA2, said.  “We get a lot of homework, but that’s expected of an honors class. Mrs. Cummiskey isn’t strict to be strict, but to keep us learning and producing quality work. It’s effective and done in a manner that holds your attention and holds you up to honors standards.” 

Students in the non-honors CA3 classes say that this is widely different from their own classes. Students are expected to read for the beginning of class, and they do analyze passages and novels, but not as much as those in the honors class.

The intensity between normal class and honors classes depends on who is teaching, and the curriculum needed to be followed. Each class expects different things from each of the students, and they all follow a certain curriculum and standard that they look to achieve.