Definition – Princess

Dual Enrollment and Advanced Placement Changes

When confronting the question of whether dual enrollment and advanced placement courses hold benefits for the student there is no doubt that many adjustments need to be made. Until only recently, the range of advantages in these courses relied solely on academic success, while this is an important factor to consider it is not the entire essence of a student’s well-being. As Shannon M. Suldo in her article ” Examining Gifted Students Mental Health… states, “Many areas of life contribute to students’ happiness.” Therefore beneficialness should be calculated only with a high emphasis on mental well-being as it contributes most to all other areas of life.

The students who participate in these programs can essentially be refined into three categories – the gifted, talented, and the gap-fillers. The gifted are arguably the most commonly known of the bunch consisting of those assessed on many levels to conclude that they need advanced courses to “reach their full potential.” Psychologists who use this term so loosely to define student success are only referring to potential as academic potential, not the potential of happiness, sociableness, etc. The talented are those achieving high grades in high school and are assumed by the administration that because of this they are well-equipped to handle college or advanced work. Lastly, arguably most overlooked and negatively affected of the students are the “gap-fillers”, which serve only to make up a class size big enough to adhere to teacher-to-student ratios or to generate positive, affirming, and reassuring statistics toward the success of the high school. Clearly, many aspects of the individual are overlooked when deciphering who qualifies for these programs.

Special education in high schools is much more uniformly formatted to benefit the overall well-being of the student as it holds minor prioritization on academic achievement which is most often correctly calculated based on class engagement and creative means rather than through testing and assessment.

First of all, it is scientifically proven that there is a much more consistent devotion and persistence in teachers of special education compared to teachers in regular education. LaRon A. Scott in her article Why Do They Stay.. further emphasizes this by stating that ” Among the factors contributing to teacher persistence, many are unclear.” Special education teachers undoubtedly have a hard job and many question the reasons that lead to them staying. One strong argument that can be made toward this point is that they stay simply because they care, care more than perhaps a teacher in regular education.

Special education teachers are not only more devoted to the students but also much more knowledgeable about students’ physical and mental needs through required college classes which are likely to contribute to their ability to recognize the developmental needs of the student outside of academic success. After all the ” Masters in Art Teaching Guide” states that ” there are no special qualifications to teach AP classes ” There is little to no additional education, certifications, or degrees needed from the original coursework they are only recommended or suggested to take workshops and training.

Second, the importance of atmospheres in which accelerated students work is comparably different to the level of importance given to the atmosphere of special education children as there has been more research conducted to advance the special needs educational environment. This initiative is known as “Inclusion Education” as described in Gaolin Cai’s Special Education—An Education…, the program specializes in creating environments where special needs students can remain with their non-special needs peers and still get the additional aid they need in their education. Although this program is a working program it doesn’t take away from the fact that changes are being made every day to enhance the special needs environments while the environment isn’t even a factor that is considered in contribution to the dual enrollment or advanced placement student success.

Finally, compared to the household and guardians of a special needs individual, those in dual enrollment and advanced placement courses get less positive interaction or potentially no interaction with their guardians. This contributes highly to the amount of work presented in dual enrollment and AP courses as well as to pressure from guardians to exceed academically in their work. Again we can use Suldo’s article Examining Gifted Students Mental Health… to observe the parenting differences of those in gifted education programs. In her article she states: “authoritative style of parenting is generally regarded as predictive of optimal outcomes in youth (Steinberg, 2001), and gifted students in accelerated high school programs are no exception.

Authoritative parents are parenting which provokes parents to be authoritative figures rather than supportive figures in the household. These parents oftentimes subconsciously prioritize the academic success of the student over the mental health of the student because they feel that the loss of sustainable mental health will ” pay off” in the long run. Oftentimes we also witness that parents are much less able to support a student in advanced coursework because they don’t understand the material. For this reason among others, it makes sense why parents often chose the authoritative parent approach to remain stern with their children in evaluating their work rather than a supportive approach.

Cai’s article Special Education—An Education… highlights that there is much more concern and involvement of the parents with children in special needs education programs than there is with parents of students who are indulged in advanced curriculum programs. He states in regards to parents with students in special needs programs that ” Education is never solely the responsibility of schools, there are many things people as a parent can do.” The parents of special needs individuals are much more involved in these programs with their kids to ensure that they are being given the best education possible not just for their academic success but overall well-being. It is considered more of an essential factor for parents to be involved with special needs children’s education than it is an important factor for advanced students to need their parent’s involvement. Parents should always be a part of a student’s life, as much as students may not want to admit it, their parents are important to their social and mental growth. Not having them involved in their educational endeavors leaves parents and students missing out on crucial opportunities to talk, bond, and give support.

Many changes need to be made to make dual enrollment and AP programs beneficial in terms of mental health and happiness for the student. Among these changes, however, areas such as criteria, environment, teachers, and parents in these programs should be important factors to amend. To achieve these changes there needs to be participation from all ends of the educational program including but not excluding archdiocese officials, administrations, principals, deans, professors, teachers, parents, and most important of these voices to be heard; the students.


Cai, G., Wei, Z., & Wong, Y. (2022, January 17). Special education-an education programme still in input. Special Education-An Education Programme Still in Input | Atlantis Press. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from 

Do teachers need special qualifications to teach AP classes? Master of Arts in Teaching Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved October 17, 2022, from 

(2012, May 29) LaRon A. Scott. Why Do They Stay? Factors Associated With Special Education Teachers’ Persistence from SAGE Publications Inc. (2022, January 14). Retrieved October 17, 2022, from 

Suldo, S. M., Hearon, B. V., & Shaunessy-Dedrick, E. (2018). Examining gifted students’ mental health through the lens of positive psychology. In S. I. Pfeiffer, E. Shaunessy-Dedrick, & M. Foley-Nicpon (Eds.), APA handbook of giftedness and talent (pp. 433–449). American Psychological Association.

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