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Launching leaders who question boldly and communicate with conviction
The Upper School program develops confident, well-informed young women who advocate with conviction for themselves and others. Across the disciplines, students are encouraged to take intellectual risks and ask probing questions to draw out connections in their learning and develop critical thinking that supports real-world problem-solving and effective oral and written communication. The program’s academic offerings include rigorous required courses as well as dynamic electives. Online and off-campus learning is available through One Schoolhouse, collaboration with scientific research centers, and study-travel opportunities. 

US Curriculum

Marymount's Independent Curriculum

Marymount has committed to moving toward an independent curriculum by phasing out all remaining AP courses at Marymount over the next few years. This process began in 2008, when Marymount began replacing AP courses with rigorous, advanced college-level courses that fuel students’ intellectual curiosity, foster their love of learning, and develop critical skills for their future success. This transition is consistent with our peer schools in New York City and nationally, which have the resources – most notably the faculty – to support advanced courses that align with our mission-driven curricula. Courses are regularly reviewed and updated to meet the needs and interests of our students.

Examples of Marymount-designed advanced courses that are offered include:

Advanced Art History
Advanced Chemistry
Advanced French: Language & Culture
Advanced Spanish: Language & Culture
Advanced Studies in French: (re: Gastronomy, Cinema, Literature)
Advanced Studies in Spanish: (re: Gastronomy, Cinema, Literature)
Advanced Molecular Biology
Advanced U.S. History
Advanced 2D Design
Advanced Drawing Portfolio
Advanced Latin: Poetry Survey


FAQs

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Why has Marymount committed to phasing out all remaining AP courses at Marymount over the next few years?

    • Breadth vs. depth of curriculum: Standardized curricula typically impose breadth of content, condensing a significant amount of material into a brief period of time. Marymount teachers craft independent, responsive curricula to stretch students’ learning. Our faculty offer in-depth studies that often include accessing New York City’s world-class resources (museums and other cultural institutions, research centers, experts in a wide range of fields) as well as broad content acquisition.
    • Learning experience and assessments: AP courses are, by their very nature, test-oriented, and thus they compel faculty to “teach to the test.” Test-oriented courses often encourage students to view performing well on a standardized test as the goal and can undermine longer-term goals of engaging in complex materials and developing agile critical and creative thinking and a life-long interest in the subject. Our advanced independent curricula insist on student self-direction, promote deep understanding, and require the application of knowledge and the ability to communicate it in a variety of ways.
    • Student health and wellness: The societal emphasis on overscheduling, resume building, and perceived “achievement” as measured by external standards have contributed to the rise in anxiety, depression, and other adolescent mental health issues in recent years. High-pressure, intensely content-based AP curricula and final assessments add to student stress. Our own faculty, unfettered by the prescriptive AP curricula and schedule, challenge students intellectually by providing syllabi that directly respond to student needs and inquiry in a healthy way. 
    • Skills and preparation for college: AP courses are not always the best preparation for college-level coursework, which generally demands the capacity for in-depth analysis and demonstration of original thinking over memorization and broad strokes. Marymount’s curriculum works to develop the skills necessary for success at the college level, and at the advanced level, propels their mastery. These important skills include multimodal communication, critical thinking, complex problem solving, and interdisciplinary thought. 
  • What AP courses will remain in the 2021-22 school year and be phased out in the next few years?

    AP English Literature 
    AP Physics C: Mechanics
    AP Calculus AB
    AP Calculus BC
    AP Statistics
    AP courses offered through One Schoolhouse, with approval 
  • What if a student wishes to take an AP test for a course that has moved beyond AP?

    Students will have the option to request the AP exam for a course that has moved beyond AP.  This will remain true while the School continues to offer AP courses in some subjects.
  • What will be the credit value for advanced courses?

    Advanced courses will receive the same + 1.0 bump in credit that AP courses have. Honors-level courses receive a + 0.5 bump in credit.
  • Will there be a limit to the number of advanced courses a student may take?

    Unlike the 3-course limit on AP courses imposed by the School based on administration of AP tests, there will not be a limit on the number of advanced courses a student may take. However, any student taking more than 3 advanced courses must be approved by the divisional head or director of academic programs with a view to balance and student health and wellness.
  • Will this affect college admissions?

    College admission offices have responded positively over the last decade as we began to phase out AP courses. Our students continue to be admitted to the country’s most selective schools. The admissions officers with whom we spoke consistently indicated that their focus is on the courses a student takes within the context of what is offered, and how they perform in those courses; the AP designation itself is far less relevant. Along with outreach to college admissions offices, our school profile and transcript will be updated so colleges continue to recognize the rigor, depth, and innovation of a Marymount education.