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Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

What happened to AP classes?

Stephanie Ma
Long tables are placed in the library to accomodate for AP tests this year. Every year near the end of the school year, the library is closed off for hours at a time for students to take their AP tests.

As you scrolled through your course selection catalogue this year, you might have noticed something a little different. Starting in the 2024-2025 academic year, numerous AP classes will be replaced with Advanced Studies classes covering similar content. 

The intention behind Advanced Studies classes is that curriculums will become more flexible and expansive. This change could include more labs, in-class activities, and fewer tests. 

“The AP doesn’t really align with our academic philosophy here in terms of how we want students to think,” said Micheal Hoe, Assistant Head of Schools, “If you think about  our humanities electives, and compare it to an AP US History test, they’re just not in sync.” 

These changes will be applied to higher level natural science classes and to all higher-level classes in the world language department.  

The new courses are as listed: 

World Languages: 

  • AdvSt Spanish Language & Culture    
  • AdvSt Spanish Literature & Culture  
  • AdvSt French Language & Culture 
  • AdvSt Chinese Language & Culture 


  • AdvSt Biological Sciences  
  • AdvSt Environmental Solutions 

This change was brought to Webb after a year and a half review process, during which members of the Webb administration talked to peer schools, colleges, and universities to gather data. Administrators deduced that Advanced Studies classes fit Webb’s learning philosophy better, as these classes push students to think more deeply and authentically about subject matters. Administration plan to  replace other AP STEM classes with Advanced Studies alternatives.  

“We already had conversations in the languages [department] with teachers who were thinking about transitioning to an Advanced Studies curriculum,” Mr. Hoe said. “In AP Enviornmental Science and AP Biology, we have had teachers expressing that if they didn’t have to teach the AP curriculum, they would have space to do other activities so those are the classes we decided to start with. Then math, physics, chemistry, and others will come later.” 

From a college admissions standpoint, Mr. Hoe reassures that colleges and universities around the world view Webb’s Advanced Studies curriculum just as rigorously, if not even more advanced than they view AP courses.  

“Our Advanced Studies courses challenge students to think more authentically and deeply about the subject matters and schools know that, so I don’t think it’s going to be a disadvantage,”  Mr. Hoe said.  

The transition from AP to Advanced Studies classes has received mixed student feedback at Webb. 

“I think it’s important for students to have a standardized score, especially in college admissions,” said Petrina Ong (‘24), a student who has taken 5 APs. “Also, students take classes more seriously when there is a final test at the end.” 

On the other hand, some students view advanced courses as less stressful, as they have a more expansive curriculum and do not include a final exam. 

“In advanced classes, you’re able to get more into the material instead of getting a surface-level understanding,” Emily Thornton (‘25) said. “I don’t love the world languages shifting to advanced studies because I lose out on the college credit, but I appreciate the sciences because I like to be able to do more research and learn more in-depth.” 

As students begin to take more Advanced Studies courses, Mr. Hoe hopes that this transition opens more opportunities for students to discover their passions. 

“I think [Advanced Studies classes] will help students think about what they’re interested in learning based on our course offerings,” Mr. Hoe said. “I think [they will] help students open up in terms of considering classes they might not have if there was an AP offered.” 

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About the Contributor
Stephanie Ma
Stephanie Ma, Co-Editor of Opinion
Meet Stephanie “Steph” Ma ('25), a harmonious force within the Webb Canyon Chronicle and Webb Community. This past summer Steph leisurely sojourned in Korea, where she indulged in delicious street foods such as fish cakes and tteokbokki. She continued her summer melodiously with visits to Boston College and NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, where she immersed herself in the world of music, recorded her own songs, and had her soul serenaded by Masie Peters while visiting her brother in Canada. Looking through her Spotify, you are sure to find the ballads of Taylor Swift and Joshua Bassett. A talented instrumentalist, she plays a multitude of instruments such as the violin, guitar, and ukulele, yet her compositions extend beyond melodies. At Webb, the humanities strike a chord in her heart, especially classes conducted by Ms. MacPhee. As a maestro of leadership, Steph serves on the VWS Honor Cabinet When writing for the WCC Steph meticulously pieces together articles, most notably her compelling piece on the UC strikes. Finishing with a crescendo we can all look forward to seeing Steph thrive during her third year at Webb, while we take delight in her enlightened and empathetic articles during her second year at the Chronicle.  Favorite Song: "Cool About It" by Boygenius

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