StudySync could be better

The new language arts curriculum is unnecessarily challenging.

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When considering the language arts curriculum, I prefer our old Holt literature over the new curriculum.

The first problem is the reliability of the books themselves. StudySync would be better if it was hardcover and not four separate books for the year. If StudySync was hardcover and one big book, it would be more durable. On the other hand, the four books in StudySync are significantly smaller and lighter. At any one time, then, the weight of the new books is less.

If students misplace their StudySync, they can’t get it back. Using Holt, students could get their books returned because of the barcode. The textbooks were checked out individually to students. Abandoned and lost textbooks is a continual problem on campus, and StudySync makes that problem worse.

Furthermore, the questions on the StudySync are way too confusing. They ask for too much, or the question is too long and some students don’t understand it. Here’s an example from the StudySync text:

There’s no denying that “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a gruesome story. A mentally and emotionally unstable narrator gets an insane idea in his head and savagely murders an innocent old man who trusts him. Yet the story is among Poe’s most popular works and is read with pleasure by every succeeding generation. Why do people enjoy suspense and horror stories like this one? Is it despite – or because of their dreadful details? Use evidence from the story to support your answer.

That’s a lot of reading just to answer a single question! Students would really have to focus just to understand the question. The rigor may be too much for nightly assignments. Here’s Holt question requiring similar information:

Mood, or atmosphere, is the overall feeling in a story. How would you describe the mood of this story? What details does Poe use to create that mood?

To answer the Holt questions, students would have to focus less, and this will give them more time to respond accurately.

Clearly, I think the Holt curriculum was better for students to improve in language arts. Even though the StudySync books allows you to write in them, and are lighter, the amount of work for each story is too much. For these reasons, I think the new curriculum is not as good as the old one.

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