IMSA is rigorous. There has been much controversy over how much homework students receive at IMSA; compared to other elite boarding institutions such as Phillips Exeter Academy and Deerfield Academy, IMSA hands out a fairly large amount of it to students. I interviewed several IMSA students as well as a staff member to get their take on IMSA’s homework situation.
Blair Hu, a sophomore, has a positive outlook on IMSA, saying, “IMSA’s education is very good because I learn a lot and we have good teachers. We receive a decent amount of homework; however, I like the classroom experience and its uniqueness.” Blair Hu applauds IMSA for its resources and its teachers, and asserts that IMSA has its own teaching experience.
A junior, Rohit Mittapalli, also agrees with one of Blair Hu’s points, stating, “Dr. Prince and Dr. Dong are the best teachers at IMSA; however, the physics and chemistry labs are pointless. Also, the homework is too easy.” Rohit Mittapalli is sure of IMSA’s homework being too easy and comments that the chemistry and physics labs are pointless; however, has he faced the full brunt of IMSA yet?
On a separate note, Nitya Talasila, a junior as well, contrastingly argues, “We have too much homework and it is pointless; instead of having a lot of homework, we should have a decent amount of homework that actually matters. Some people choose not to do it because it is so pointless but others are forced to, because of grades, which causes them to lose sleep over the extra homework.” According to Nitya, instead of focusing on the quantity of homework, IMSA should focus on the quality of homework.
Jonah, a senior at IMSA, has a completely different point, emphasizing, “IMSA has a lot of opportunities but it limits those opportunities through the competitive nature of this school, which causes cheating and depression. We do not receive too much homework, however.” Jonah is probably speaking from experience and personal occurrences being a senior who has endured the largest part of the rigors in the prestigious institution.
From the perspective of an adult, staff member in the Information Research Center, Paula Garrett, argues positively about IMSA, contending, “IMSA is very similar to a university; it is astounding how high school students ask such research-oriented questions. It reminds of days when I used to work at Fermilab because physicists would come up to me with similar questions.” Paula Garrett thinks highly of IMSA’s students and praises IMSA for providing students with many opportunities. Ultimately, although IMSA might provide students with a bit of extra homework, their bright students will handle anything that comes at them, thriving under the academic and environmental rigors of a new school.
IMSA might give out too much homework, but it might now. It’s a value judgement rooted in what you perceive as good pedagogical standards? Are you “classically” oriented, accustomed to drills and lots of practice? Or are you more modern, focusing on projects and large inquiry assignments?