The BASIS 8th grade AP asterisk


by David Safier

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 1.57.39 PMI was looking through the high school course sequences on the BASIS website when I saw this asterisk at the bottom of the Social Science/Foreign Language page.

Eighth graders are required to take World History 2 and Economics. They don't have to take the World History AP exam, unless, of course, they want to continue on to 9th grade. They don't have to pass the exam, just take it.

This sounds to me like trial by fire, making 13 or 14 year olds feel the heat of BASIS High School where they'll be required to take 8 AP classes and take the national AP test for 6 of them. If the World History class is too tough, and especially if the AP test is miles over their heads, they'll probably get the message: find another high school to attend.

According to the asterisk, this is a new requirement this school year. I'm just guessing here, but it sounds like in the past, some 8th graders decided to take the leap into BASIS High School who shouldn't have, then washed out. Getting a sample of what's in store will allow them to bow out on their own before it's too late, or be counseled that they may not have the right stuff to make it next year.

Is this a school where high expectations push students to excel, as The BASIS Legend claims? For some students, maybe. But for others, it's a school that tells them to meet a predetermined standard of excellence or find another place to get an education.