Advanced Study: Seeking Authentic Understanding of Complex Questions
St. Andrew's does not offer Advanced Placement courses; it designates courses offered at the collegiate level as "Advanced Study" (AS) courses. Our faculty selects and designs these rigorous and creative courses, drawing on their own scholarship, research interests, and professional development; academic and technological innovations; collaboration with other high school or college faculty; and/or courses, curricula, and methods developed at outside institutions. Some AS courses incorporate preparation for AP exams, but in most cases students study for AP tests independent of general class instruction.
Our Advanced Study courses go beyond preparation for multiple-choice exams that simply test retention of content, to work that ask students to demonstrate deep understanding and authentic exploration of complex questions, issues, and challenges. AS courses teach students to:
- Develop an argument;
- Write and revise;
- Calculate and experiment;
- Synthesize concepts; and
- Think independently and creatively.
- Teaching such skills requires a specific approach to teaching and learning that encourages student-led investigations, experimentation, drafting, and collaboration, rather than teacher-led lecture and rote-learning.
Each year St. Andrew's engages with collegiate faculty and pedagogical leaders to review the content and rigor of courses, evaluate the strategies and approaches used by our departments, and assess the scope of student learning. This collaboration is an opportunity for invaluable dialogue on the craft of teaching, evolutions within individual disciplines, and the progress of our students' education after St. Andrew's.
"The strengths of the academic program are its ways of getting you to think. In each subject, you are taught how to think, rather than what to think about."-VI Form student