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Senior High students got what they wanted: AP Psychology
psych fullMansfield Senior High teacher Eric Meier stands with students in his AP Psychology class.

      What’s so unique about Advanced Placement Psychology at Mansfield Senior High School this year? Students requested the demanding course.

      Brianna English, a junior last spring, went to then-principal Dr. Milton Folson, asking that the AP Psychology course be offered.

      “I requested it because AP Psychology is needed for a lot of college majors,” English said. “Pre-med is my plan. I want to be a pediatrician. Being able to take this course as a senior moves me along faster. Good AP exam scores are good for the school too.”

      English plans to attend either The Ohio State University or Case Western Reserve University.

      Other students said they too would like to have AP Psychology added to the curriculum.

      Folson turned to veteran social studies teacher Eric Meier.

      “Dr. Folson came to me and asked, ‘What about this?’” Meier recalled. “I said my only goal – if that’s what these students want – is to teach this like a college course, relevant to their goals and get the highest possible exam scores.”

      Each May The College Board administers AP course exams to high school seniors. The exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 5. Many colleges grant credit or allow students to skip the equivalent college course for scores of 3 and above.

      A score of 5 on The College Board exam is defined as “extremely well qualified,” a 4 is “very well qualified” and 3 is “qualified.” A 2 merits only “possibly qualified,” while there is no recommendation for a 1 score.

      “Scores of 5 are the goal,” said Meier, who is beginning his 23rd year in teaching, all in Mansfield City Schools. “A score of 4 is good, 3 is OK, but no 2s or 1s.”

      Meier has nine students – eight seniors and a junior – in his AP Psychology class. Most, he said, will use the course for college.

      Senior Marnay Hoy also plans a pre-med course of study with a goal of becoming a family physician.

      “I’m going to need this, so why not get started now?” said Hoy, who is leaning toward attending Clark Atlanta University.

      In July the board of education approved the purchase of AP Psychology textbooks and “Strive for a 5: Preparing for the AP Psychology Exam” on the recommendation of Stephen Rizzo, the district’s chief academic officer.

      Rizzo said he was impressed by the students’ initiative.

      “This is the first time I have been involved in creation of a course requested by students,” he said. “It is very encouraging to have students identify things that they want to learn about.”