Honors Programs at ISM

Article by: Ahona Salsabil

What comes to mind when you hear the words “honors class”? Do you feel intimidated or interested? Various students have different opinions on the subject of honors classes. At ISM, the Honors Program is available for English and math from seventh to tenth grade – but what exactly is it?

The Honors Program is an advanced course, which challenges students to think beyond the level of a standard class. But what defines an honors class? Bianca C., a junior who took both english and math honors for all four years, feels that “an honors class is defined by the synergy between all the students and the teacher, which creates an environment conducive to learning higher level curriculum.” Junior, Alice Y. shares that, “An honors class is one for students who are capable of studying topics in more depth and at a faster pace than the standard classes, but more importantly are motivated and interested in the subject.”

Honors classes tend to be distinguished from non-honors classes by the greater amount of work that honors students are required to do, or the faster speed at which they progress through their course work. Some may be wondering, why take on the extra work? Junior, Gitika B. says,  “Honestly, I did think the math honors program was much more challenging because of the pace and level of testing. But I guess the reason people take such courses is in search of a challenge and that is why I took it.” Junior Jess C., who has taken honors math since the 8th grade, says, “I guess to me it was about maximizing the quality of education that ISM has to offer. I also knew that being in honors classes would prepare me for harder classes, which proves true now, especially in the IB.”

Jess, along with other ex-math honors students, remarks the honors course is extremely beneficial in terms of preparation. Furthermore, the course has allowed her to be at ease in the Math SL course, as most of the topics have already been covered to a certain extent. However, Jamie W., a Junior found it difficult that when she was in math honors, “you could only take two reassessments per semester.” Jessica Z., also a Junior, explains that “in math honors, they challenge you and really require you to work independently which has given me a good work ethic for Math HL since you can’t depend on the teacher as much.”

Unlike honors math, English teacher Ms. Mazarakis relays that “the most important thing about English honors is that you don’t need to be in Honors English to go into HL English.” Bianca emphasizes this point by saying that “we had almost the same curriculum as the regular class but the standards for the quality of our writing were much higher and we get one or two extra assignments throughout the year.” Undoubtedly, despite the challenges, honors students reap many benefits which outweigh the difficulties.