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The Student News Site of Darien High School


The Student News Site of Darien High School


The “Step Up” from Regular Classes to Honors Classes

Why is there a step up from a regular class to an honors class?
Honors and regular classes both come with work, but the amounts can be different.

We’ve all heard stories from friends that take honors classes about how hard and serious it is. They might’ve locked themself in a bathroom stall before an honors class test, scrolling through their notes on their phone trying to memorize the content they learned in the past week. They might’ve missed one day of school and now suddenly have a test the next day, and half of its content is what they missed. They might’ve stayed up until 1 AM studying for their honors class because they got home at 10 PM from extracurricular activities. But students in regular classes don’t often get this stress (before midterms and finals) – why?

Curriculum Expectations

Both regular and honors classes are college-preparatory classes that briefly prepare you for upcoming topics you’ll see in college, depending on what you plan to study. “But these classes are more challenging, go into greater depth, and sometimes cover more topics because the class is more at a faster pace,” school counselor Mr. Marc Power said.

Regular classes typically cover topics at a steady pace, spending more time in each unit. This pace means that students will learn less about certain topics and only learn the necessary information to keep this pace going, allowing students to learn enough to be able to apply that knowledge in the future.

It’s not a secret that students enrolled in 400 level classes can expect to have more homework than in non honors classes. (EJ Lindstrom)

On the other hand, honors students learn more information while covering the same topics regular classes do. For example, both 300 and 400 chemistry students learn about gas laws in the gas unit. 300 students learn about certain gas laws, how to solve problems, have a lab and a test, then move on. 400 chemistry students learned more about these gas laws and more content in that unit than 300 chemistry students. Even though the courses differ in how much they’re learning, they both still get the same necessary information out of it. The depth and difficulty of certain units for honors students are what is challenging.

Additionally, the work ethic that students go by may differ in honors vs. college prep classes because of the work they’re doing. “Honors students are also expected to do more self-directed, independent work,” said Power;  “300-level classes tend to have more teacher-led activities and support.” Honors classes focus more on promoting a student-centered education in preparation for college, so students are challenged and complete work above and beyond what’s expected.


The incentive to do homework in honors classes is the need for the practice of the material, something not given in class most of the time since it is taught at such a fast pace.

— sophomore Nico Johnston

Students in 300 level classes typically complete the work they’re given and rely on their teacher for support when necessary. They’re provided with more direct instruction in class and typically receive less homework than honors students since the class is less complex and requires less practice. That being said, the amount of work differs in honors and regular classes because of what’s being taught; so part of that gap is how much work there is, the depth of what students are learning, and their work ethic in and outside of class.

The Environment

Aside from the curriculum, some students suggest that there’s a significant difference in the learning environment in honors and regular classes. “Kids in honors classes are much more competent and overall less annoying and more friendly, they’re more wanting to learn,” said sophomore Reagan Little.

Students in honors classes are more responsible for completing work on their own and understanding what’s being taught, so they will be more engaged and focused in class. If honors students don’t pay attention in class, it’s likely they’ll have a lot to catch up on, so naturally they’ll be more engaged to help them keep up with what they’re being taught. Due to this, it creates more of a fixed and immersive environment for honors students as they learn.

The way students behave in a classroom can shape their environment. (Pixabay)

Regular students take classes in a typical manner, so students often mess around and goof off more in class and may have more disrespect for teachers, creating a carefree air in the classroom. Since they don’t learn much that requires their absolute attention, this results in students not being as productive because they usually don’t find a point in being in class and just care about grades.

Honors and regular classes leave us to question the circumstances as to how we should really be learning in school. What should we be doing to be productive and to help school be more of an immersive and beneficial environment for everyone? “There would be no need for so much homework,” responded sophomore Nico Johnston.

It’s certain that we view school as a chore and there are issues with the amount of work given, but the very least we can do is appreciate it, whether we’re in honors or regular classes. The step up from a regular class to an honors class marks a difference in our education, but just by coming to regular classes with a positive attitude, and by making homework fit more into a busy schedule, perhaps the step up can become a step forward.

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About the Contributor
Valentina Galvan
Valentina Galvan, Journalist
Valentina is a sophomore who started writing for Neirad in 2023. She enjoys writing OpEds, pop culture, and reviews. You can find her scrolling through TikTok, dancing to music, spending time with family and friends, and more when she isn't writing. Valentina's favorite movies are Mamma Mia and Little Women.

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