Semester Scheduling Good or Bad?


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Which is better: semester or A/B schedule?

Throughout the years students and teachers at LRHS have gone through many different layouts of learning and teaching. Two of the most common layouts are semester schedule and the  A/B schedule. In a semester schedule, students will spend each semester doing different subject courses, much like college. One semester they may take math and science, and then the next, take history and language arts. With the A/B schedule, students take the same classes all year, but not everyday. Students alternate classes every other day. On Mondays perhaps, a student would take math and English, but then on Tuesday they would take science and history. 

The question has been raised before, which one is better for students and teachers? Each one has their pros and cons, and I wanted to reach out to a range of peers and teachers to get their opinions on the manner. 

The Semester Schedule 

The semester scheduling students are given a selection of classes each semester, but then after that, they are done taking those classes until the next year. For example, I personally took math and English during my first two marking periods. Now, in the new semester,I am taking science and history, meaning I haven’t taken math or English for a few months now. As a student who is not too amazing at math, I have the concern that come next year, I may struggle. If the semester schedule is used again next year, I may not take some form of a math class for a whole year. Even if the school switches to a new schedule, I worry how hard math class is going to be for me since I haven’t taken the class since January of the following school year.

For teachers, this may also be a struggle. They will have some students who may have even more troubles because they have not been in that class for a year, making it harder for them to teach a group of students who may not remember or have more trouble trying to catch up in that subject. 

However, there are some pros to the semester schedule. Students are not stuck taking the same classes all year long. Instead of being stuck with the same routine, students are now introduced to a new set of classes and a fresh start. 

I asked one of my friends, Savannah Merrit, from my old district in California,  about the topic.. She said, “I like the semester schedule better cause I am not stuck doing the same thing year round because I personally like the change.” After a long conversation back and forth, I saw where she was coming from, and was able to agree with her on some parts, but we both also saw the issue with how whenever she came back to a certain subject in school after not taking it for a long time, it was harder for her to grasps some of the harder aspects.  

When I asked Ms. Laura Fucilli, a language arts teacher at LHRS, said that she actually preferred the semester system for teaching. “As a teacher, it is much easier for me to plan my lessons using the semester scheduling system.” 

She went on to say that in using the semester system she is better able to teach students because it brings a constant learning pattern without interruptions during the week and even having to drag lessons out longer because of the A/B days. 

Even preferring the semester schedule, Ms.Fucilli did mention some of the disadvantages of the system. “Students can forget the material learned in the fall semester by the next fall if they haven’t taken a class in a year. That is definitely a big detractor of the semester schedule.” 

I can agree with that statement because my views are aligned with that. As a student, I don’t know how easy or hard it is going to be for me next year without having taken a certain class for a long period of time. 


A/B Schedule

I went on to ask another one of my friends, Jason Clark, who is still in my previous district, Monroe Woodbury in New York, about his thoughts on semester versus A/B scheduling. His district currently goes by A/B days, and he said that he is fine with it because it makes everyday day feel a little less like the same. “I don’t mind the alternating days and semesters, they add variety to the days. I would welcome alternative options because it would just be something different.” 

After speaking with him, we both talked about how it is good to have differences in routine because after a while it kind of gets boring doing the same thing day after day, especially right now when everyday feels almost the same. 

Following that, in a conference call, I asked Mr. Joseph Placenti, history teacher at LHRS, what he thought as well. He said that due to the current circumstances we are dealing with, the semester schedule works better because there is less work for the students. But outside of this situation, he thought that the A/B days were better for such reasons as he gets to see his students year around, instead only during the first semester.Also, he shared thatfor students it is easier for us to keep up the knowledge of what we are learning, instead of potentially losing some of the information from not taking that class again until the fall semester there next year.

Afterwards, I spoke with one of my friends from Lakeland. Wanting to remain anonymous she told me, “I like the A/B days better because then I get to see my friends day to day instead of month to month during school.” She said that getting to see her friends was one of the best parts of going to school, and “not getting to see them in classes for a few months would be hard.”


Which is better?

With so many varying opinions, the question still remains: Which one is better? As a student, I think A/B days work better because students get to spend a year working on their classes and keep up with the consistency of learning. A big part of learning is practicing constantly and getting exposure to those lessons. With a semester schedule it’s harder for that to happen. Along with that, we as students get to see our friends more often and a big part of school is getting to see your friends throughout the day and sometimes that is only possible depending on your schedule.