There is. That’s right, there’s a club that provides the school with a way to find out information about courses here at Paly. As the next president of Input Club, I’m here to explain the benefits and accomplishments of a club close to my heart.
Our main accomplishment, a website that showcases data about various academic courses at Paly, features a multitude of statistics about almost every class offered at the school. It acts as a database of the average grade, average homework time, and the average Advanced Placement (AP) score and the percentage of students taking the AP exams for any given Paly course.
Along with these measurements, a bar graph showing the distribution of grades is provided on the Input Club website. On this graph, students can see how many students received A’s, B’s, C’s and so on from official data provided by the Palo Alto Unified School District.
For AP classes, another bar graph showing the distribution of AP scores is also provided. This component of the website has made Input Club’s database about specific courses a valuable asset for many students struggling to choose which courses to enroll in for the upcoming year.
Additionally, students can see qualitative data about specific courses, such as how much homework each class assigns as well as a general description of the course and sections of the gradebook.
For example, one could conclude that AP Environmental Science does a poor job of preparing students for the AP exam because over the last five years, a third of Paly APES students taking the class opt not to take the test. Of those who do, nearly 40 percent receive under a three on the test.
On the other hand, AP Calculus BC does a phenomenal job of preparing students for standardized calculus tests — only two students received under a five on the AP test last year.
However, when the grade distribution of APES is compared to that of BC Calculus, it is apparent that BC Calculus is the more difficult of the two. This shows that student grades are not always a predictable indicator of success on the AP exam.
Presenting statistical analysis of course data is only one aspect of our club. In upcoming weeks and months, the club hopes to unroll a variety of other projects outside of its flagship project.
These projects include comparing student attendance on test days with attendance on normal days, finding out how Paly students get to school and understanding out how these factors affect students’ performance in their morning classes.
To me, Input Club is about doing a service to the community. We at Paly Input look at ourselves as servants of the Paly community, and strive to provide other students with organized, easy-to-understand statistics so that they can make informed decisions about what classes to take and homework load for the classes.
Where else can students find out how well a class prepares its students for AP exams, or how difficult it is to get an A in a class? Sure, the student can talk to his or her peers, but these are not always accurate and represent only one of many students who enroll in any particular class.
Often the school’s information in the course catalog can also be a less-than-perfect resource for students to find about AP classes because it is not written from a student perspective.
Our club provides a place for students to find out more about which courses to take as well as which to abstain from. I can only hope that I will be able to fulfill the legacy of those before me.
If you’d like to visit the Input Club website, visit paly-input.wixsite.com