The Add Drop Period should be extended


Students have the first two weeks of school to request a change in their schedules, adding or dropping classes. [AUDREY HWANG/THE BLUE & GOLD]

Upper school students at Taipei American School (TAS) have two weeks to decide whether they would like to change their schedule and add or drop a class, referred to as the Add Drop Period. During the two-week period, students can confer with their academic counselors regarding whether they would like to add or drop classes.

The course selection process starts in the spring of the previous semester, with class registrations submitted on PowerSchool by March. A tentative schedule is made by May, and students are given a chance to make changes to that schedule before the fall semester.

Some reasons students may want to add or drop a class include misconceptions about a course’s workload, lost interest in the subject matter and others. “[Sometimes the classes are] not what [students] thought [they] would be,” Mr. Ryan Haynes, director of academic and personal counseling and grade 9 counselor, said.

Such determinations and observations often cannot be made within the first two weeks of school, with little indication of the factors listed as the course has merely been introduced. Hence, the add-drop period should be extended from a two week period to a month-long process.

Throughout the current duration of the Add Drop Period, students are introduced to the class syllabus and the first unit of the class. Many classes do not have an assessment until after the Add Drop Period, and often, the first unit is introductory, meaning it goes over the basic content needed to build onto much more complex, difficult concepts. For instance, the first unit of a chemistry course may go over the basics of chemistry, which would be an introduction to chemistry, not content specifically pertaining to the literal difficulty of the course.

Having a month-long Add Drop Period gives students more flexibility to determine whether a class is a good fit for their schedule. These are classes that students have to stick with for the rest of the year, and determining whether to stay should be considered with attention to how the workload may affect students later in the year.

Though an extended Add Drop Period may create more flexibility for students, it may be a disturbance to teachers, counselors and administrators. For academic and personal counselors, it may interrupt their workflow as their roles in the community consist of assisting students beyond mere schedule changes. “Schedule changes are only one aspect of what we do,” Mr. Haynes said.

Hence, students should be researching potential classes before enrolling. “When it comes to scheduling, we really want students to be informed about what classes they are taking… [students should] try to be an informed consumer,” Mr. Haynes said. “Read the course catalogue, [and] talk to other students [who have taken the class before].”

Ultimately, students should feel at will to make determinations about whether they would like to stay or leave a class for the rest of the year with more time flexibility. The current two-week Add Drop Period does not give students sufficient indication or understanding regarding how the class may play out for the rest of the year.