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Author Topic: Ender's Game Research Report
Kabederlin
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Because Ender's Game affected my life in many ways and my thinking, and because my English III AP teacher told us we had to write a research report or we fail for the year, I decided to write mine on Ender's Game. When i set out I knew it would be hard as it was a piece of contemporary literature and therefore not holding many sources of criticism. While all of my peers had easy times researching books like Huckleberry Finn or The Scarlet Letter, i slaved away digging up everything I could, and I'll admit there might be a few pieces of BS in my report. Through my hard work though I uncovered a whole new meaning of the book Ender's Game. I'm not sure if everyone is familiar with Elaine Radford's accusations against Ender's Game and it being an allegory to Adolf Hitler and the events in the late thirtys and early fortys, but she did write an extensive essay about it. I found myself pulled into a fight probably resolved fifteen years ago, but I still felt a duty to defend Ender's Game. So I worked and through that work I came up with a research report that I thought was good enough to turn in and satisfy my call of duty to perhaps the greatest book ever written.

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Since its expansion into a novel in 1985, Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card, has become one of the best selling science fiction books of all time. Through Card's diction, use of specific details, and emotional themes and characters, critics have begun finding hidden themes supporting Fascism, Adolf Hitler, and his atrocities.

The writing style of Game has often been referred to by critics from the beginning of itís time as a novel as bland and unpromising with no real direction. One critic has even called Cardís work "very unsportsmanlike" because of its jumps in the story from one point to maybe one or two years later without a word of what went on in between the two years (Lassell 164). The diction in Game is what is most peculiar. The novel shows many links to Hitler, the main link being that the main character of the story, Ender Wiggin, is a genocide like his comparison Hitler. Elaine Radford, a science fiction writer and critic, goes further, accusing Card of purposely capitalizing the word "Third" to amplify it's meaning. In one part of the novel a character even says "The most glorious title anyone could have is Third." In any other case this word would mean nothing except the order in which a person was born, which is where "Third" comes from in the book because Ender was the third child in a world where only two children are allowed per family. However, when we consider that Adolf Hitler himself was a third child, the accusation holds ground (Radford 145). Thankfully, most disagree with Radford on this small detail and she was rebuked. Card, also a third child, claimed that he modeled the character Ender not after Hitler, but off of himself. (Card 148).

Though that part of the mystery behind this book is an unpromising lead, Card counters much of the other things with the same excuse, claiming he did not realize the many similarities between Ender and Hitler (Card 148). For instance the fact that Ender, like Hitler were both unmarried until the age of thirty-seven, or that both hated his older brother and loved his older sister (Radford 145). Radford even goes as far as to describe the twoís love of their sister as "incestuous" (144). Near the end of the novel, Ender writes a book about the entire race of aliens he had wiped out in the former war. Radford does not only claims that this detail was a monstrous act of stealing his victimís heritage, even though the celebrated name, Ender Wiggin, would now be disgraced because of his own book, but she also declares that Card made all these details and similarities to ask the audience to forgive Hitler (Radford 146). "Look at the fact that the Fuhrer was sincere and redefined his life as dedicated rather than evil. Forgive Hitler? Card, from your privileged position as a white male American Christian, you have no right to ask us of that" (Radford 147).

Of course in no way does Radfordís claims even have hold because many people hate their older brothers and love their older sisters. And as long as weíre going that far, God help all children born third in line, because youíll be compared to Hitler. Radfordís accusations against Game and its many similarities to Hitler are blanket statements attacking Card himself more than the novel (Card 148). If the author had meant Enderís Game to be an allegory, wouldnít he have made it a bit more obvious so that it could be seen by more than just the people who have obviously done extensive study on Hitler. Radfordís accusations only reveal her as what she is; a radical feminist who first saw the degrading of women (which never happened really) in Cardís novel and decided to pick a fight with whatever she could dig up. To quote Card, ". . . if someone finds hate or persecution or the glorification of evil in these stories, I can only answer, in the end, that I donít believe I put any of those things there, and if you found them, it is because the desire to find them was in your heart before you ever read my book" (Card 151).

Even without Hitler, Cardís novel stand alone as a new-age piece of literature with many themes relating to war, death and the small minds of human beings (Geis 143). However, most critics have finished this novel learning the wrong lesson, or worse, no lesson at all. The novelís protagonist, Ender Wiggin, taken as a small boy to become the future commander of the human battle fleet against an alien invasion, captures the hearts of readers through his innocence. Though the young boy is tricked in killing the entire species of aliens, he never once fails to accept the fault as his own and pay the debts he owes to his enemies and his friends. Ender does this by composing a novel in honor of the extinct species that will make his name a curse and not a compliment to the human race. Card introduces a new meaning of self-sacrifice to the world of science fiction through his character, Ender Wiggin (Jonas 165).

Aside from Ender, the side-characters, Colonel Graff, Major Anderson, Bonzo Madrid, Alai, Bean, Valentine Wiggin, and Peter Wiggin, all take it upon themselves to fulfill a sense of duty that they owe to the human race. Colonel Graff and Major Anderson contradict everything they know as right to push the small child, Ender, to his limits and for that matter the limits of any human being, and trick the boy into wiping out the enemy species. Though everybody knows the road to hell is paved with good intentions, Graff and Anderson provide a thoughtful paradox to the statement; maybe hell is worth those good intentions. Enderís school friends Bean and Alai support Ender even when they are purposely put against each other in school and in battle. Bean, though unreasonable small, is a brilliant child whose faith in Ender stakes the entire existence of humanity. Alai serves as Enderís first friend and his equal for that matter. Enderís school enemy, Bonzo, shows only the stupidity of the human race and what honor, pride, and above all, jealousy, can do to a person, driving the character in mad rage to his death by Enderís hands. Even Enderís siblings, Valentine and Peter Wiggin play their part of the war on Earth, even though they were purposely cut out from the alien wars, preparing the humans for the end of the interstellar war and for the beginning of a new war; humans against humans. All these characters come together to provide for a thoughtful novel (Easton 165).

Itís difficult to find a single central meaning to Cardís book. Instead, readers will learn, or I sincerely hope they will learn, exactly what I learned from this novel: That human jealousy, greed, love, honor and duty will drive people to do just about anything for themselves and their friends, even when it contradicts all we have learned and that it is love alone, that pulls human beings through the toughest of times. I can not understand how any reader could pull away what critics like Radford did, because in every human I see, there is a little bit of Ender Wiggin lurking inside them and in no way is it supportive of Hitler. My conclusion is that Enderís Game is not an allegory and that the writer, Card, sought only to show the world what humans can accomplish in desperate times. The matter that Hitler also reigned in a desperate time or that he committed the same crimes as Ender is not Cardís fault, but a fault of civilization.

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TomDavidson
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I think you'll find that the Radford criticism on which you've based your entire article is an aberration; most critics do not, in fact, link Card (or Ender, his creation) to Hitler. You should make clear that you were only able to find that one article, and direct your comments accordingly -- since it's pretty obvious anyway. [Smile]

[ March 10, 2004, 09:06 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Kabederlin
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I was against Radford's comparrison and I do mention many times that she accused something I can't see anybody else accusing. I didn;t name her as the only critic with that view because I did not know she was the only critic. There's got to be at least some wacked out people who supported her statement, and therefore are critics as well. So taking that into thought I couldn;t honestly state she had the only piece of criticism dealing with that subject. Doesn;t matter. In an AP English II class I scored a 94 on that paper. Not bad really considering the class average was 83.
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cochick
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Thanks for sharing - I personally had never heard of the criticisms used in your essay and found it interesting - well written too - congrats on the 94.
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TomDavidson
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Hm. You got a 94 on that paper, exactly as written, in an AP English class?

*sigh* I suppose that's to be expected when the class AVERAGE is 86% -- but it still makes me sad.

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mr_porteiro_head
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Dude -- it's High School. What do you expect?
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Kabederlin
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Eh I guess but considering class average was 83 I think I did quite well... And I said English II but I meant English III. Not that that matters. I just wanted to share the report, I could care less if you like it or not.
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pooka
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I wonder what Radford would have gotten if she had turned in her paper to an AP English Teacher. They were both married at 37? Addressing Mr. Card personally? Puhleease.
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lcarus
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I'm not sure what "English III AP" means. I suspect that this is not, in fact, an AP class, as in one leading up to the AP examination, and possible college credit. If it is, it should be graded on a college level, not a high school level. I would be surprised to find an AP class in which only one research paper was written, or in which it was expected that a research paper follow five-paragraph-like form (i.e., tri-part thesis statement and such) and be limited to 1300 words. If this is the case, and if this paper is an example of "excellent" work in a twelfth grade AP class, then I share Tom's dismay--not at Kabederlin or his/her writing skill, but at the low expectations for an AP class.

I'm sorry if I'm coming across as curmudgeonly, Kabederlin. It is not my intention. I would like to welcome you to Hatrack and hope that you enjoy it as much as I do, and as much as our many prolific teenage members do. I really am not intending to criticize you, and I don't actually think Tom is either.

His first post made a good point if you were looking for a way to improve upon your paper. I see from looking at your preface that you were not posting this to ellicit constructive criticism--and the fact that you already got a grade on it makes the point (perhaps) moot anyway. But when we see a research paper posted, it's only natural for those of us who have seen many research papers posted here over time to assume that, as with the others, you are posting in search of proofreading. I'm pretty certain that this is what Tom thought you were looking for in his initial response. Getting defensive would defeat the purpose--except, of course, this was not your purpose after all. [Smile]

If, rather than seeking constructive criticism, you are actually looking to enter the Radford debate with fellow readers of OSC, there have been a number of threads on the topic on this side. You might want to see what some of us have had to say about this and throw in your own two cents. (Which is not intended to discourage you from starting your own thread, but rather to say that there are so many topics raised in your paper that it's hard to pick just one and run with it.)

Anyway, once again, welcome. [Wave]

[ March 30, 2004, 12:14 AM: Message edited by: lcarus ]

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Frisco
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That, and it's good to see someone doing their own homework for a change.
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Kabederlin
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I wasn't really looking for any criticism as I didn't need it. I was only sharing my opinion on the matter Radford presented. Which was the meaning of my whole first paragraph. Since I had recently written a Research Paper on the subject, I figured that was the best way to present my opinion. And an actual style of 5 paragraphs is discouraged by the state of Texas now in an attempt to make writers more "creative" instead of following the same bland scale they've been forcing students to follow the last twenty years.
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Kabederlin
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And I got a 94 on the Paper. The overall project including references, notecards, source cards, documentation, etc. was a bit lower. 81 I think (I wasn't really concerned about it).
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Jeni
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I'm still curious what this AP English II and AP English III business is. We only had one, regular AP English at my school.
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syeku
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Kabederlin, I'm doing the samething you're doing right now and it's do saturday and i was wondering how many criticisms you found on Ender's Game? Because i found less than five... Can you share your source if you dont mind?
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Kabederlin
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Required Credits needed is English I-IV. AP just means it's an Advanced Placement class or to a lesser lever, a college class. Though I agree that the class should be more challenging (As it is rather easy and I took AP to be challenged), you dont exactly get a college credit without taking the AP Exam at the end of the year (which costs 50 dollars) and only about 20% pass the test. Of course if you do pass the city gives you no less than 100 dollars (100 for a 3. 150 for a 4. 200 for a 5), just so they can reward you (or moreso brag about you) for your genius (or hardwork in some cases). Honestly there's not much difference in AP and regulars except AP is usually a bit faster and we read like four more books a year than regulars (which isn't a big deal since I love reading).

I'm much more challenged by my AP Physics class(Any Physists in here? I could use help. Lol.) and by European History (also AP) class which is deathly hard (I didn;t starts tudying until I hit this class). Of course now I think I;m coming off as bragging, so I'll close by saying AP means nothing really, just a title that looks good on a college transcript, unless you have a good teacher (Which my History teacher is. Voted best in Texas).

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Kabederlin
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Oh and I guess they grade it on a looser scale because if you don't do good enough of the Research Paper you don't pass English III (Texas State Law) and therefore have to go to summer school or repeat the course the following year. In fact if you don;t do the paper at all the school is not allowed to give you the credit, even if you make a year average of 70 or above. I don't know much about grading in High School and I'm not pretending to believe my paper was perfect or even close to it. As I said I just posted it more to show my opinion on the matter, though I'd rather like to believe at least some part of the paper had ideas a formulations (if that's even a word) that somehow deserved a passing grade, so saying that it's not a good paper does kind of offend me I guess seeing as I wasn't prepared for criticism (though now I see that I should have been) since most of my friends just said "Eh" and I'm Im not exactly planning on making a career out of writing research papers.
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lcarus
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As I said, I don't think anybody's intention was to say that your paper wasn't good at all. I think Tom's intention at first was to provide useful advice, and his (and my) comment later were more critical of the requirements for AP English as you described them--and you yourself admit that they could be more rigorous than they are in your class. So I'm sorry if you feel slighted. I hope that you'll forgive us and join in the discourse here. [Smile]
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lcarus
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On the AP thing . . . how many English classes are considered AP classes? How many AP tests can you take in English by the end of your high school career? Am I correctly interpreting your explanation to meN that you're a junior?
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Jeni
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Man, I'm so confused. You're required to take AP English? Or just required to take four credits of English and can decide to take the AP course? Is the AP program different throughout the country? Here, it was just AP English. One year-long class with one optional AP test at the end of the year. And the tests I took costed over $70 each.

<whine> And I spent hundereds of dollars taking AP tests that made no difference whatsoever for college. </whine>

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fallow
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Jeni,

I'm sure you'd do fine. Speaking w/out personal knowledge of your intellect first-hand, I can't reckon you'd do otherwise if you chose to do so.

fallow

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TomDavidson
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Man, it sounds to me like the AP standards -- which were already slipping by the time I started college -- are in the toilet.

Only 20% who take your AP class pass the test? That, AFAIC, defeats the whole POINT. AP isn't some "special" English for bored kids; it's English for kids who're good enough to be taking college classes already -- or should be, at least. If you're finding the classes "easy," I suspect that your teacher has somehow missed the point and isn't challenging you or being ruthless enough to you. (The idea that you got to write a report on Ender's Game, which is ultimately a very simple book, reinforces this suspicion.)

Of course, this might reflect the fact that college english classes have become pretty pathetic. Nothing about that research paper suggested a great deal of research, and it certainly isn't written at what I'd consider a college level; unfortunately, I suspect that what I consider college level and what is actually college level nowadays might be more than a little divergent.

(Icky, I'm glad I got out of English teaching when I did. I think it'd break my heart to do it nowadays, at least in Texas.)

[ March 30, 2004, 09:15 AM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Jeni
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I have a feeling his numbers are off. What score are you considering passing?
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Rappin' Ronnie Reagan
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I'm confused. That was submitted as a research paper? It looks like a short essay to me.
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sarcasticmuppet
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AP English III--are you a Junior, then?

I took AP English II my sophomore year, but there was no AP test for that level. Instead, we did harder, more writing-based work and our grades were weighted on the 5-point scale (an A is 5 points, a B is 4, and so on). My Junior and Senior years, we would have to take the AP test in order to get that 5-point weight. I get to brag about never having paid for an AP test, because they were all covered by our school district.

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lcarus
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An AP class not associated with an AP exam . . . see, that sounds to me more like an "Honors" class. And, of course, honors classes exist at most grade levels.

It doesn't seem right to me for a high school to not give credit in the GPA for an AP class if you don't take the test, though. When I took AP Lit and AP Calculus, I chose not to take the tests because I already knew I had a free ride in college. I just took the courses because they were more interesting to me.

Then again, what a school says it does in calculating your GPA is largely irrelevant (except in figuring class rank), as colleges will recalculate acording to their standards anyway--in which case, you will generally get the extra quality point for the AP class, whether or not you took the test.

[And your first lesson in Hatrack theads: the Derail. [Big Grin] Now we are talking about AP classes and educational standards--at least until someone rerails us or derails us further. So nothing we say about these topics in general should be considered to be personal critiques of you.]

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Jeni
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So how is this particular AP class listed on the transcript? It doesn't seem fair to show it as a regular AP class when it's clearly not.
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lcarus
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I think colleges would recognize a course listed as AP that does not line up with one of the known AP exams.

-o-

. . . of course, if we weren't all such a bunch of lazy hacks, one of us would look up what AP exams exist, instead of speculating about them [Roll Eyes] [Wink] . . .

Where is Kayla when we need her . . .

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mr_porteiro_head
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I remember taking 2 AP tests -- English Composition, and Physics. I got a 3 on the english one, and a 5 on the physics one. Neither one of them got me out of a single class when I went to college. It was a big waste of time and effort.
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Kabederlin
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Wow. An I had thought this topic was forgotten. Okay lemme see if I can get all the questions andswered without forgetting anything. First of all so we know the state we're dealing with. I'm from Cedar Hill, TX. That's just outside of Dallas.

You are not required to take AP English, though you are required to take English 1-IV. There are only two AP English Classes, English III and English IV, which according to how you advanced in Middle School means you will take them somewhere in between Sophmore and Junior year.

It costs 50 dollars this year (70 dollars really but the state pays 20 dollars) to take the AP test in Cedar Hill. Elsewhere in Texas it costs different. If you take the AP Test, you are not required to take the Final Exam at the end of the year. You also aren;t required to be in AP Classes to take the AP exam. Thus a 20% passing average also includes the students who take the AP test to get out of the English Final Exam at the end of the year, because it doesnt matter whether or not you PASS the test.

As for a whats passing, I wouldn't know. I haven't taken the AP Test. I assume a 3 is passing because thats the score it takes for them to give you money. And the highest score is a 5 so 3 seems logical.

Also a reason for a low pass curve is the fact that last year the City also payed 30 dollars towards your test, which means that you really only had to pay 20 dollars. So of course many students jumped at it to get out of the Final. I know a kid who took it and just drew stick figures on the paper. I mean that's life, you're gonna have idiots who don't care. When you consider all of this the actualy AP students mostly passed it.

As for the quality of AP classes going down, that fluxuates though I will strongly agree, though on a much broader scale. AP isn;t coming down, the entire school system all together is lowering their standards. In fact I could sit here and preach for hours about how the school system is screwed up but this is Hatrack so I won;t get into that. The point is yes AP classes are much lower standards but in relitivity to the regular classes. The are still the same length above.

And AP I guess really means Honors. The goal of AP English is to prepare students for the AP test so it is an accelerated class.

And my English teacher didn't want me to do Ender's Game. We were to pick a piece of literature to research. Ender's Game being my favorite, was chosen by me. And though it is a quite easy book to understand I couldn;t really spend the whole thing talking about wht I believed without sources to back it up. Which is why Ender's Game is challenging. There isn;t too much critcism on it. I found lots of reviews but very little criticism. The criticism I did find was mostly negative which didn't help since I;d rather not write anything negative about my favorite book. So although the book was quite easy to understand, it wasn't very easy to do a research paper on. And no that wasn;t the exact paper I turned in. That's actually my typed first draft. I changed it a bit and added and fixed some gramatical errors and whatnot. I don;t have that copy anymore though and I'm not about to type it.

I hope I didn't foget anything. This topic has really turned into something I didn't want it too... I guess I'll have to expect that from Hatrack. No hard feelings though to anybody.

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Kabederlin
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Looky there I did forget something. Jeni I don't know how it's weighted. I do know that AP students get a weighted GPA. Like a 90 scored in an AP class is counted as a 100 or something. 10 points I think. I can;t back much of that up. It's important to understand that I haven;t concentrated much on college after high school, not because I don;t think I'm wrothy. If I tried I could make straight A's in school. I'm just going into the military after High School and let them pay for college, though I don;t wanna be much except a military man. I mean thats what I plan on doing as a career. Probably Infantry. We don't have enough genius in the military so I think I can benifit them.
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lcarus
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quote:
This topic has really turned into something I didn't want it too...
I'm sorry you feel this way. I think you are taking some comments as directed at you that are actually not. These are like free-flowing conversations that ramble where they will, and this time we've rambled into AP classes and the theoretical decline in educational standards. Just people who don't have anything better to do shooting the breeze; no offense intended.
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Kabederlin
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No I understand completely I'm not taking any offense. I was just saying this topic went in an unexpected direction. Heh.
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