Frequently Asked Questions

What is CHAI?
  • CHAI is an acronym for Campbell Hall Advanced Inquiry. CHAI courses are a result of our process to replace those Advanced Placement courses that do not serve the school’s community of inquiry model with our own advanced courses that will cover roughly the same subject areas as the APs in question but allow for more discussion and inquiry and prioritize engagement, depth, and quality over quantity.

Is Campbell Hall getting rid of AP courses?
  • No, the school will continue to offer those AP courses that serve the school’s mission of inquiry and replace those that do not.

Why is Campbell Hall replacing some AP courses and not others?
  • Some AP courses serve the school’s mission of inquiry well and are being retained. Those that are being replaced do not allow for the level of discussion and inquiry, engagement, depth, and quality to which Campbell Hall is committed.

What prompted this change?
What was the redesign process?
  • As we continued to inquire into and plan this curricular innovation, a CHAI Criteria Committee, chaired by the secondary principals, met throughout the 2016-17 school year. They researched University of California, College Board, International Baccalaureate, 21st Century Learning, and other standards in order to develop a set of criteria for the new CHAI classes that best reflect our goals for these college-level courses.
  • In the spring of 2017, the committee arrived at a CHAI program description and set of criteria that were then reviewed by academic departments and the Secondary Educational Policy and Review Committee. These criteria were then used by our own talented faculty as a basis for their courses’ redesigned curricula.
  • The revised courses were then reviewed by the department chair and principal before being submitted to the University of California for approval.

How many courses are being redesigned?
  • Currently, 11 of 24 AP courses we offer are scheduled for redesign over the next several years.

What is the timeline for the redesign?
  • Planning began spring of 2016, continued throughout 2016-17, and has culminated in our first courses ready for the 2018-19 student course registration process in spring 2018.
  • The first CHAI courses will be offered beginning in the 2018-19 school year.
  • The remaining redesigns are planned for rollout in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years.

What CHAI classes will be offered beginning in the 2018-19 school year?
  • CHAI Physics with Calculus Honors (replacing AP Physics C: Mechanics)
  • CHAI Art History Honors: Global Approach (replacing AP Art History)
  • CHAI English Language and Composition Honors (replacing AP English Language & Composition)
  • CHAI English Literature and Composition Honors (replacing AP English Literature & Composition)
  • CHAI Modern World History Honors (replacing AP European History)

What is the difference between CHAI courses and AP courses?
  • CHAI and AP courses are both college-level courses that represent the highest level of study in a particular discipline. 
  • CHAI courses have been designed by Campbell Hall while the AP courses have been designed by the College Board using a standardized curriculum.

Will the CHAI courses count as honors courses and earn the extra GPA weighting of other (honors and AP) advanced-level courses?
  • Yes, CHAI courses are designated as honors courses, and students will earn the same GPA weighting as they do in other advanced-level courses.

What is the difference between CHAI courses and the honors courses Campbell Hall already offers?
  • CHAI courses represent the highest level of advanced study in a particular discipline.
  • An honors course is an advanced-level course often taken as part of the discipline’s sequence culminating in a CHAI or AP course (for example, Physics Honors will often be taken before CHAI Physics with Calculus Honors, the culminating class in the physics sequence.)

Are the CHAI courses approved by the University of California?
  • Yes, all CHAI courses have been UC approved and with the same honors designation awarded to AP classes.

Are the CHAI classes as rigorous as AP courses?
  • Yes, CHAI courses are college-level courses that represent the highest level of study in a particular discipline.

Will students enrolled in CHAI courses be prepared to sit for the College Board’s AP exams in those subjects?
  • This will vary from course to course.
  • The school has not designed its CHAI courses with the intention of students being able to sit for the College Board exams; however, in some cases, the material covered in the CHAI course will allow them to do so.

Will Campbell Hall administer AP exams for AP courses not offered at Campbell Hall?
How do students earn placement into CHAI courses?
  • Students earn placement in the same way as any advanced-level course in the secondary school (via their Trimester 1 and 2 grades from the previous school year.)
  • CHAI courses will be offered at the same grade levels as the corresponding AP courses they’re replacing.

Are other high schools taking steps like this?
  • Many of the best independent schools across the country are looking carefully at their advanced curricular offerings. Some have abandoned the Advanced Placement program altogether, some have combined AP with their own redesigned courses, and others have decided to retain the AP program in its entirety.
  • Campbell Hall is part of a larger movement that is looking creatively at education and, more specifically, a focus on strengthening the connection between the school’s mission and its curriculum, a connection that has always been a hallmark of our school. Memberships in organizations like the Independent Curriculum Group and the National Association of Independent Schools serve as important resources in our furthering the kind of mission-driven innovation in teaching and learning that we are committed to. Inspired by the January 2016 publication of Turning the Tide by the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common Project that encouraged high schools to look closely at how they promote and assess ethical and intellectual engagement, Campbell Hall considered head-on an issue that had been brewing throughout the school’s multi-year strategic planning conversations: whether the College Board’s AP classes follow a community of inquiry model or are instead curiosity-dulling marches through test-driven, standardized curricula.

What do colleges think of these classes?
  • Colleges, who have great confidence in Campbell Hall, have confirmed they trust the quality of the curriculum that we develop and that they are in fact eager to see students engage in unique programs like the CHAI initiative and are excited about new and innovative courses like these.

Will students earn college course credit for successfully completing a CHAI class?
  • No.

Will students be at any disadvantage in the college admissions process by taking CHAI classes instead of the College Board’s AP courses?
  • Our conversations with peer independent school and college representatives have confirmed that students applying from schools that have made innovative changes like this one have maintained success in the college admissions process.

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4533 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Studio City, CA 91607
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Campbell Hall is an independent coeducational day school for grades K-12, located in Studio City, CA. We are affiliated with the Episcopal Church and its 500-year history of academic excellence, and are also one of the most religiously and racially diverse schools in southern California.

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