An Op-ED On Why Senior Year Math Is So Hard

At Wauconda High School the math options for senior year make it very difficult to enjoy the easiest year of high school. The classes offered are Pre-Calc, Calc, AP Calc BC, Computer Science, Math 105, and AP Statistics. Each class is at a really high difficulty level. There needs to be more courses available for seniors to be able to take their final year of math, because myself and lot of fellow seniors really struggled with math this year. 

Math 105 is the easiest math course available to seniors, however, one can only be eligible for it if there’s proof of extreme struggle in previous years. It is a quite select course because the administration wants to make sure the students who need it are actually in it. 

The gap between Math 105 and the second “lowest” math course (Pre-Calc) available is quite large. If a person struggles with math enough to not understand Pre-Calc, but not enough to fail previous years, they’re hopeless.

This leads to a decline in the seniors’ GPAs due to their math grades if they don’t understand. Keeping one’s GPA high is crucial for colleges because they can remove scholarships if it were to slip enough. With all of this stress from not being able to keep one’s math grade up, seniors result in dropping out of a senior year math class. They are able to risk graduating with only 3 years of math instead of taking a hard course to protect their GPA

This year I chose to go into AP Statistics because I thought it would be the best choice since I really struggled with Algebra. AP Statistics drove me crazy. I’d spend hours doing homework and studying just to fail each test. I didn’t have the option to go into Math 105 at first because I had managed to scrape my Algebra 2 grade into a B in junior year. I was barely able to keep up with AP Statistics. I was sitting at a low C and I knew my GPA couldn’t get lower than a 3.8 because then I’d lose my scholarship. I made the decision to work hard until the end of the first semester and then drop out of the class. I was able to end with 80.19 percent because my teacher helped me get there. I am really lucky my college allowed me to do so. I am going to Grand Canyon University and luckily they don’t require 4 years of math which allowed me to drop it. This semester is so much better than last. I am able to actually enjoy my senior year. However, I am worried about how difficult math will be once I get into college since I have been out of it for so long. 

Stephanie Campazuno, a senior at Wauconda High School, was in the same situation as me. She was pressured to drop AP Statistics because the material was too difficult to keep up with. She only chose Statistics because she wasn’t eligible for Math 105, and knew Pre-calc would be too difficult for her. “I’m a really good student and hardworking overall. I put in at least two hours of work and study into that class every night, and even more on weekends. I put in 3 hours when there were tests and quizzes, but nothing would stick. I think there needs to be more options for higher classes that aren’t as challenging as the classes offered.” 

Jashley Duran, another senior at Wauconda High School, is currently in Pre-calc. She is really struggling with keeping her grade above a D, yet she’s an A/B student. Jayshley doesn’t have the option to drop pre-calc because her parents are requiring her to graduate with 4 years of high school math. She has to deal with the risks of her GPA dropping due to her being physically unable to understand the material. “I have a C- in pre-calc right now. I wish I could drop out of pre-calc, but it brings a lot of benefits to college to have 4 years of math.”

Overall, math is really hard for the people that struggle. If the high school were to offer a “re-do” for the class that they took the year of COVID during senior year, I think it would be really beneficial. It would help them feel more confident going into college, it would get them 4 years of math, and it wouldn’t be too easy, nor too difficult. Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a new math class available overall that could be offered at the school. But if one becomes available, the high school needs to adopt it as soon as possible.