Some MHS students wearing college gear in the Senior Success Center (Alex Clark)
Some MHS students wearing college gear in the Senior Success Center

Alex Clark

AP Courses at MHS

March 10, 2021

For many, the process of preparing for college is very stressful. One way students can take some of the stress of college off their shoulders is taking one, or more, of the many AP, ACP, or Dual Credit classes offered here at MHS. Unlike most other high schools, Martinsville covers the cost of the college classes, so taking these classes is a good way to save some money and time that would otherwise be spent in college. If enough of these college classes are taken in high school, a student can graduate with enough college credits to go straight into their sophomore year. 

There are multiple ways to earn college credit in the high school level. Dual credit, ACP, and AP courses are all things offered at MHS. Although they are often grouped together, there is a difference between the three. According to Martinsville High School Dual Credit/AP Course Information: 

  • Dual Credit classes fulfill a Core 40 course to graduate with academic or technical honors, and they also provide free college credit, as MHS covers all tuition fees for those classes. Dual Credit classes are all through Ivy Tech community college. The accuplacer test, which you take upon entrance to the class, determines if you will get the college credit in addition to the high school credit, hence the name “dual credit,” or if you will simply receive the high school credit. 
  • ACP stands for Advanced College Placement and is a partnership between Indiana University and certain high schools, including MHS, that allows students to earn dual credit through IU. There is not any test you have to take to earn the credit for ACP classes, but you do have to pass the class, and these classes are generally much more difficult than the general courses. What’s more is the teachers who teach these courses have to meet certain criteria before they are allowed to become the instructor.  
  • AP stands for Advanced Placement and are courses offered to high school students through the College Board. Students can earn college credit or course equivalents if they receive a good enough score on the AP test administered at the end of the school year. These classes help prepare students for the test and give them the courses required for academic or technical honors diplomas. In most cases, AP classes will get you more college credits than dual credit and ACP classes.

Some of the AP classes offered at MHS are: AP Biology, taught by Mrs. Shannon Adams; AP Chemistry, taught by Mr. Rick Armstrong; AP Environmental Science, taught by Mrs. Mellissa Cary; AP French, taught by Madame Lynette Liberge; AP Statistics, taught by Mr. Eric Lund; AP Government, taught by Mr. Jon Marion; AP Spanish, taught by Mr. Logan Maxwell; AP European History and Ivy Tech US History both taught by Dr. Donna Peterson; AP Physics, taught by Mrs. Deborah Schoolcraft; and AP Calculus taught by Mr. Daniel Urban. Some other Dual Credit classes can be found in the vocational and business sections of the school.  

MHS also offers dual credit classes and ACP courses: ACP Composition, taught by Mr. Ken Barrett; Ivy Tech Speech and Advanced Fine Arts, both taught by Mr. Matt Smith; and Dual Credit Pre-Calculus/Trigonometry, taught by Mr. Daniel Urban. 

Each class has specific benefits, requirements, and expectations. Here is some more specific information about some of the classes: 

  • In AP Biology, you can earn from three to eight credits. Mrs. Adams said that AP Biology is a good way to “get practice for college classes, challenge yourself, learn more about a topic, earn college credit to save money later, try a class that is on-par with your major and see how you do with the content etc.” If one hopes to major in any type of science or medical field and is willing to put in the hard work, AP Biology is a good class. Do not be tricked by assuming AP Biology is the same as general biology; Mrs. Adams describes the class as, “moderately hard” to gain credits for college. In addition to loving science, Mrs. Adams hopes that students also “get excited about the natural world and appreciate the complexity that makes it function.”
  • Mr. Barrett’s ACP Composition class is a course from which a student can earn three college credits from IU that can be transferred to most other colleges. It is IU’s freshman composition course, which means that it is required for all IU freshmen to take and pass. In this class, students learn by doing. They cover many areas of study in order to discover how to think, read, and write analytically. This course can help prepare students for college level writing and can illuminate them on societal issues. Mr. Barrett teaches this class with the hope that his “students leave with a much broader view and knowledge and interest in the World, America and beyond, but particularly our own Society, that they are soon to enter into.”
  • AP French, the fourth year of French, is taught by Madame Liberge. After taking AP French, you can have up to twelve foreign language credits, depending on how well you do on college entrance exams. By taking this class in the high school level, students have the ability to test into high levels of French in college, bypassing the first few years of French, which means, according to Madame Liberge, “In a way…students are ‘paying themselves’ by taking our courses…they are saving that money at the college level.” Aside from gaining many credits for college, AP French teachers, along with the other foreign language teachers, hope that students can, “learn general skills–study and organizational habits, general knowledge, enthusiasm for learning, problem-solving strategies, [and] mental flexibility.” Madame Liberge gave this sentiment: “And, floating above it all, is our desire for our students to develop an awareness that the American way is not the only way to do things.”
  • Dr. Peterson recently started teaching one dual credit class and one AP class, US History and European History, respectively. If you pass the test, US History can earn you 6 credits and European History can earn you 3 credits. Colleges and universities require at least one course in social sciences, which dual credit U.S. History and AP European History courses should cover. Like all AP credit courses, these classes boost your college applications. In addition to aiding your college applications, Dr. Peterson believes that “classes in history foster a proficiency in seeing patterns of continuity and change over time, but these courses also build on a student’s ability to write, synthesize material, interpret information, contextualize their thoughts, and present valid arguments.” 
  • Taught by Mr. Matt Smith, Ivy Tech Speech and Advanced Fine Arts (Theatre) are both dual credit classes available for students at MHS. These classes both can earn you three credit hours if passed with a C or higher. Not only can you get out of taking classes like these in college, butboth of these classes can potentially benefit any major, but, in particular, they’re more suited for majors involving creativity, communication, and group cooperation.” Regarding what students can take away from his classes, Mr. Smith put it plainly by saying,The real world is harsh, and there won’t always be people around to remind them to turn things in or to read the directions or to finish a project, so one of my goals is to introduce that into students’ lives so they can start to appreciate it before they’re thrust into the terrifying abyss known as adulthood.”  
  • AP Calculus is one of the only classes at MHS in which 8 college credits can be earned. Almost every college is going to require some sort of math class. By taking AP Calculus in high school, you have the luxury of skipping some math courses in college. If you plan on studying a mathematical field, taking AP Calculus can put you ahead of all other freshmen in college. Also taught by Mr. Daniel Urban, Dual Credit Pre-Calculus/Trigonometry is a prerequisite to AP Calculus. According to Mr. Urban, “Dedication and hard work are probably the most important skills. The Calculus is the easy part, it is all about putting in the required work…If you are driven and want to succeed, then the college credit is easy.”  

Martinsville High School offers many courses and college-level classes that help prepare students for their future. If you wish to get a head start on college or simply want to expand on your responsibility, take college classes without cost, and gain better time-management skills, AP, ACP, and dual credit classes may be the answer. The MHS teachers and counselors will gladly help you find which course will benefit you the most!

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