Does the Advanced Track Prepare Students for Success?

Renee Chua

The phrase “gifted and talented” describes many of the students that attend Paducah Tilghman. The title has benefits, but it also comes with a price. Students put in so much time and energy into being successful on the advanced track, but is it worth it? Gifted programs have the potential of being beneficial to students, but the flaws need to be sorted out first.

On a lighter note, there are many benefits to taking advanced classes. Students are challenged in the classroom to prevent boredom, and there is a positive learning environment. There is generally more engagement in these settings which can lead to great discussions. The AP teachers at Tilghman do an amazing job at keeping their students on their toes and making sure that each students has access to the resources they need to succeed. Additionally, advanced programs help students become more social. Being with like-minded individuals encourages students to explore areas of interest that they normally wouldn’t have.

Although there are benefits to being on an advanced track, there are also negative effects that can be seen by taking a look at a student. Gifted students are typically held to higher expectations, which results in increased levels of stress. They feel as if there is no room for error because of their status as the top of their class. Because of this, some students resort to lows such as cheating in order to keep the “perfect” student image. Many people think that students who take honors, AP and dual credit classes have a great work ethic, but in reality, it’s the complete opposite in some cases. Instead of truly learning, students feel the need to memorize and cram for a test then immediately move on. In addition, the unending pile of homework coupled with hours of afterschool activities leaves students staying up all night to get assignments done.

Critics argue about whether gifted and talented programs should stay implemented in schools. There is controversy when it comes to the meaning of being gifted. Based on your experiences in high school, do you think that the advanced track is setting you up for success?