Placement

Placement Information

GRADE 9 E.L.A. PLACEMENT

English/Language Arts Scope and Sequence

All students are required to take four years of of English at the high school.  Although the instructional focus, the assessment criteria, and to some extent the content of the different course offerings at each grade level differ according to the level of proficiency expected of students entering the course, there is no rigid tracking of students into different course levels: all courses at each grade level follow a parallel curriculum.  Thus students who demonstrate a consistent ability to exceed course requirements at one grade level may transition to an Honors section the following year.   Students may also choose to take multiple sections of 12th grade English as electives, as well as Journalism or Speech & Debate.    Additionally, supplemental classes are offered for those students who need or desire more direct support in writing skills outside the regular English class.

Although a standard 9th grade English/Language Arts curriculum is in place at SKHS, there are significant differences between English 9 and Honors English 9.  Both courses align fully with the Common Core of State Standards for English/Language Arts, and follow parallel scope and sequence guides.  Between the two courses, the majority of the course content (instructional units, core texts, and common assessments) largely overlaps.  But, while the course content (both the texts studied and the skills assessed) is the same in both courses, the expectation for students in Honors English 9 is considerably more rigorous in terms of readiness for high-school and college-level work.  Students entering Honors 9 are presumed to have already demonstrated some degree of mastery in the core reading and writing skills that are the focus on instruction in English 9, and thus in need of less direct instruction and scaffolding of those skills.   Students are expected to have the skills already in place and be ready to apply them on a consistent basis with minimal review and guidance.  


English 9
Honors English 9
  • General understanding of most grade-level reading assignments (Lexile® rating of 1050L+), with scaffolded support if necessary, including in-class reading.
  • Knowledge of basic elements of literary text (plot, structure, characterization, point of view, etc.).
  • Basic understanding of how to compose a multi-paragraph essay, with direct guidance from the teacher in the use of visual organizers and the writing process.
  • Proficiency in the use of standard grammar and the conventions of Standard Written English.
  • Self-motivation (willingness to read 20-30 pages of advanced literary texts for homework most nights).
  • Consistent, independent comprehension of literary texts (as assessed through reading quizzes administered before class discussion) at and above grade level (Lexile® rating of 1150L+).
  • Ability to reason analytically about assigned content, and to independently articulate analytical thinking orally and in writing.
  • Demonstrated ability to independently produce multi-paragraph essays on both literary and general topics (establish context, elaborate and reflect on significance, integrate textual support fluently).
  • Mastery (or near-mastery) of standard grammar and the conventions of Standard Written English.


8th Grade Placement Testing
Students who are currently enrolled 8th grade at Curtis Corner Middle School take reading and writing placement tests in late winter.  On the basis of those results, they are recommended by their teachers and the SKHS English, Social Studies, and Science departments for placement into their respective 9th grade courses according to the following criteria:

Students who meet all three of the following criteria are recommended for Honors in grade 9:

  • maintain a summative grade of A (93%) or higher in each of the preceding 2 quarters of their current class in the subject (ELA, Social Studies, or Science);
  • score a percentile ranking of 85% or higher on the STAR Reading assessment;
  • achieve a composite score of 8 (out of 12) on the SKHS text-based writing assessment.
Students who meet two of the three criteria above may be recommended for Honors placement at the discretion of their current subject teacher and the approval of the relevant SKHS department.

Students who receive a score of 3 or below on the writing assessment, or who received a score of 1 on the 8th grade NECAP Writing Assessment, and who are not scheduled to receive any other formal academic support services in language arts, may also be enrolled in Writers Workshop 9.

Students who meet the following criteria will be enrolled in the Readers Workshop program in addition to their regular English/Language Arts course:

  • reading at 1-2 grade levels below 8th grade in the Informal Reading Inventory (IRI);
  • identified as a Tier One or Tier Two student;
  • recommendation by Reading Specialist, in consultation with team members.
Students who are reading more than 2 grade levels below 8th grade and are considered Tier Three readers should not be recommended for the Readers Workshop course.  Further discussions as to the most appropriate level of services for these students should take place with appropriate faculty, the reading specialist and the AssistantSsuperintendent (if needed).


The writing assessment consists of the following tasks:
You will read a short text (fiction or non-fiction) written within the past 100 years. You will then answer 5 selected-response (multiple choice) reading comprehension questions about the text.  Then you are to write a well-focused, carefully supported response (of at least three paragraphs) about  the text’s main theme, explaining how the author develops that theme through certain literary (structure, plot, images, symbolism, word choice, details, character development, etc.). You should avoid unnecessary summary.

The writing assessment is scored according to the following checklist and rubric:

RESPONSE TO LITERARY OR INFORMATIONAL TEXT ESSAY RUBRIC CHECKLIST
___Expresses an original and/or insightful main idea.
___ Shows depth of thought about the subject.
___ Develops a main idea in a logical order with smooth and varied transitions.
___ Cites specific details from the text (including quotations) and uses strong critical thinking to support details.
___ Uses a tone that is appropriate to purpose and engages the audience.
___ Uses a style that is clear and effective, with mature and varied sentence structure, and precise, vivid, and/or creative wording.
___ Uses proper grammar and mechanics (spelling, punctuation, etc.)

Your essay will be assessed according to the following rubric:
6: The student effectively synthesizes and applies key ideas, generalizations, and principles from within the reading selection to support a position in response to the question. The position is thoroughly developed through the use of appropriate examples and details. There are no misconceptions about the reading selection. There are strong relationships among ideas. Mastery of language use and writing conventions contributes to the effect of the response.
5: The student makes meaningful use of key ideas from within the reading selection to support a position in response to the question. The position is well developed through the use of appropriate examples and details. Minor misconceptions may be present. Relationships among ideas are clear to the reader. The language is controlled, and occasional lapses in writing conventions are hardly noticeable.
4: The student makes adequate use of ideas from within the reading selection to support a position in response to the question. The position is supported by examples and details. Minor misconceptions may be present. Language use is correct. Lapses in writing conventions are not distracting.
3: The student makes partially successful use of ideas from the reading selection to support a position in response to the question. The position is developed with limited use of examples and details. The student focuses more on retelling the selection than on developing an idea.  Misconceptions may indicate only a partial understanding of the reading selection. Language use is correct but limited. Incomplete mastery over writing conventions may interfere with meaning some of the time.
2: The student makes minimal use of ideas from the reading selection to support a position in response to the question. The position is underdeveloped. The student focuses primarily on retelling the selection rather than developing an idea.  Major misconceptions may indicate minimal understanding of the reading selection. Limited mastery over writing conventions may make the writing difficult to understand.
1: The student does not take a position on the question and makes only minimal use of ideas from the reading selection to respond to the question. Ideas are not developed and may be unclear. The student focuses mainly or exclusively on retelling the selection.  Major misconceptions may indicate a lack of understanding of the reading selection. Lack of mastery over writing conventions may make the writing difficult to understand.

Not ratable if:
  • Off topic.
  • Blank/refused to respond.
  • Illegible/written in a language other than English.
  • Retells or references the reading selections with no connection to the question or theme.
  • Responds to the question with no reference to the reading selections.


TRANSFERS AND PLACEMENT CHANGES

Transferring into an Honors-level class:

Students who are not currently enrolled in an Honors-level course and who wish to enroll in an Honors course (Honors English 10, A.P. English 11, or A.P. English 12) are required to take the SKHS E.L.A. Honors Placement Exam.  The format and content of the test are described below.


SKHS English/Language Arts Honors Placement Exam Instructions (2014.6a)

Students pre-qualify for placement into an ELA Honors-level course if they are currently enrolled in an Honors-level class and have earned a cumulative average of at least 80% (B-) in that class.  Students in an ELA Honors class who earn a cumulative average lower than 80% may enroll in the following year’s Honors course with their current ELA teacher’s recommendation.

All other students (those not currently enrolled in an ELA Honors course, and those not recommended for Honors by their current ELA teacher) may qualify for placement into Honors by taking the ELA Honors Placement Exam and earning a composite score (the combined scores of two readers, out of a maximum score of 12) of at least 8 (for Honors English 10), 9 (for A.P. English 11) or 10 (for A.P. English 12).  Students who have not been recommended for ELA Honors placement by their current ELA teacher must take the ELA Honors Placement Exam regardless of waiver status.

In addition, to qualify for ELA Honors placement, students must have achieved a percentile ranking (relative to their age group) of at least 85% on the combined score on the STAR or NWEA Reading assessment (administered to 8th, 9th, and 10th graders twice a year) or a percentile ranking of at least 90% on the Gates-McGinitie Reading Assessment (administered to students who transfer to South Kingstown High School).

Students who do not receive a recommendation for Honors placement may still enroll in an Honors-level course if their parent or guardian submits a Placement Waiver form to the Guidance department (and if current enrollment numbers permit).  A qualifying score on the Honors Placement Exam is not a perfect predictor of success in an Honors class, and students who fall short of the qualifying score may well excel in an Honors class if they consistently and conscientiously apply the necessary effort to succeed in a demanding course of study.  This is especially so if the student has satisfied the other criteria for recommendation to Honors, such as a reading test score above the 85th percentile.

We would discourage a student from overriding the ELA department’s recommendation, however, if her/his Honors Placement Exam score is 2 or more points below the cutoff score for her/his grade level, as such a score indicates that the student will be at a significant disadvantage in trying to keep up with the rigorous level of writing proficiency expected of students in the course.



The format of the ELA Honors Placement Exam is described below.  Specific readings will vary from year to year.

Question 1: You will read a short work of fiction written within the past 100 years.  Then you are to write a well-focused, carefully supported essay (of at least three paragraphs) in which you identify a main theme of the story, and describe how the author develops that theme.  Avoid unnecessary plot summary.
Question 2: You will read a short passage of poetry.  Then you are to write a carefully reasoned paragraph in which you: 1) briefly paraphrase the passage, and 2) present your point of view on the subject of the passage.  Support your point with specific references to your reading, observation, or experience.
You should expect to spend up to 90 minutes working on the exam.

To be deemed “outstanding,” your responses must meet the following criteria:
• focus on and comprehensively develop one original, insightful main idea;
• support the main idea with thorough, accurate textual evidence;
• use mature, precise, and varied syntax and diction;
• follow basic rules of standard written English, including standard format for citing and punctuating references.

Your responses will be assessed according to the following rubric:

6: The student effectively synthesizes and applies key ideas, generalizations, and principles from within the reading selection to support a position in response to the question. The position is thoroughly developed through the use of appropriate examples and details. There are no misconceptions about the reading selection. There are strong relationships among ideas. Mastery of language use and writing conventions contributes to the effect of the response.
5: The student makes meaningful use of key ideas from within the reading selection to support a position in response to the question. The position is well developed through the use of appropriate examples and details. Minor misconceptions may be present. Relationships among ideas are clear to the reader. The language is controlled, and occasional lapses in writing conventions are hardly noticeable.
4: The student makes adequate use of ideas from within the reading selection to support a position in response to the question. The position is supported by examples and details. Minor misconceptions may be present. Language use is correct. Lapses in writing conventions are not distracting.
3: The student makes partially successful use of ideas from the reading selection to support a position in response to the question. The position is developed with limited use of examples and details. The student focuses more on retelling the selection than on developing an idea.  Misconceptions may indicate only a partial understanding of the reading selection. Language use is correct but limited. Incomplete mastery over writing conventions may interfere with meaning some of the time.
2: The student makes minimal use of ideas from the reading selection to support a position in response to the question. The position is underdeveloped. The student focuses primarily on retelling the selection rather than developing an idea.  Major misconceptions may indicate minimal understanding of the reading selection. Limited mastery over writing conventions may make the writing difficult to understand.
1: The student does not take a position on the question and makes only minimal use of ideas from the reading selection to respond to the question. Ideas are not developed and may be unclear. The student focuses mainly or exclusively on retelling the selection.  Major misconceptions may indicate a lack of understanding of the reading selection. Lack of mastery over writing conventions may make the writing difficult to understand.
Not ratable if:
  • Retells or references the reading selections with no connection to the reading prompt
  • Off topic
  • Illegible/written in a language other than English
  • Blank/refused to respond
  • Responds to the prompt's topic with no reference to either of the reading selections