Students are ready for AP Chinese

AP Chinese Language and Culture is not yet an option at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School, but the Mandarin students want to take the class and are eager for a challenge.

The High School offers two languages for students to study: Spanish and Mandarin. The Spanish department currently offers two AP options for students; AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish literature. Students may take an honors Spanish course at every grade level.

Mandarin students do not have as many options. Students enrolled in Mandarin must take a CP level class both freshman and sophomore year. An honors option is offered for juniors and seniors, but classes are a mixed group of honors and CP students. The mixing of levels is understandable; there are not as many Mandarin students and teachers as there are Spanish students and teachers. 

CollegeBoard currently offers one AP Mandarin course; AP Chinese Language and Culture. Hamilton-Wenham does not offer this course to students, however, they can take it through Virtual High School (VHS).  

No students at the high school have elected to take AP Chinese through VHS. Learning a language on VHS is challenging; students are not able to have conversations with others, which is a vital part of learning a language. In a study of approximately 2,000 former students from around the world, 90% found that interaction with others was the most helpful resource for language learning. 

If Hamilton-Wenham students want to receive AP credit they may take the AP Chinese Language and Culture test, but the material on the test is not covered in class, so they must do all of their preparations at home independently.

On March 29th, a survey was sent out to students enrolled in Mandarin at Hamilton-Wenham. Twenty-three students responded; all of them said they would take AP Chinese Language and Culture if it was offered. 

Over half of the Mandarin students surveyed said that they would continue to study Mandarin in college.

There is enough interest in the class to offer one AP Mandarin class for seniors. Out of the twenty-four students that responded, fourteen were juniors. Fourteen students is enough for one class. The AP Spanish classes have about fourteen students or fewer.

Eight of the students who responded to the survey said that they might continue to study Mandarin in college, and thirteen of them said that they definitely would. Offering AP Chinese would give these students college credit, as well as better prepare them for college-level Mandarin classes. 

Mandarin students at Hamilton-Wenham need the option to take AP Chinese Language and Culture to prepare them for their Mandarin studies after high school, and to give them opportunities equal to those of students studying Spanish. The Mandarin students are ready to learn and are eager for the opportunity to study Mandarin at a higher level.

Students who are interested in enrolling in AP Chinese should reach out to the administration and to their Mandarin teachers. Below is a form that students may fill out to express their interest in the class.