Placement

Placement Information

GRADE 9 E.L.A. PLACEMENT

English/Language Arts Scope and Sequence

Allstudents are required to take four years of of English at the highschool.  Although the instructional focus, the assessment criteria, andto some extent the content of the different course offerings at eachgrade level differ according to the level of proficiency expected ofstudents entering the course, there is no rigid tracking of studentsinto different course levels: all courses at each grade level follow aparallel curriculum.  Thus students who demonstrate a consistent abilityto exceed course requirements at one grade level may transition to anHonors section the following year.   Students may also choose to take multiple sections of 12thgrade English as electives, as well as Journalism or Speech &Debate.   Additionally, supplemental classes are offered for those students whoneed or desire more direct support in writing skills outside theregular English class.

Although a standard 9thgrade English/Language Arts curriculum is in place at SKHS, there aresignificant differences between English 9 and Honors English 9.  Bothcourses align fully with the Common Core of State Standards forEnglish/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) largelyoverlaps.  But, while the course content (both the texts studied and theskills assessed) is the same in both courses, the expectation forstudents in Honors English 9 is considerably more rigorous in terms ofreadiness for high-school and college-level work.  Students enteringHonors 9 are presumed to have already demonstrated some degree ofmastery in the core reading and writing skills that are the focus oninstruction in English 9, and thus in need of less direct instructionand scaffolding of those skills.   Students are expected to have theskills already in place and be ready to apply them on a consistent basiswith 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
Studentswho are currently enrolled 8th grade at Curtis Corner Middle Schooltake reading and writing placement tests in late winter.  On the basisof those results, they are recommended by their teachers and the SKHSEnglish, Social Studies, and Science departments for placement intotheir 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 twoof the three criteria above may be recommended for Honors placement atthe discretion of their current subject teacher and the approval of therelevant SKHS department.

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

Studentswho meet the following criteria will be enrolled in the ReadersWorkshop program in addition to their regular English/Language Artscourse:

  • 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 8thgrade and are considered Tier Three readers should not be recommendedfor the Readers Workshop course.  Further discussions as to the mostappropriate level of services for these students should take place withappropriate faculty, the reading specialist and theAssistantSsuperintendent (if needed).


The writing assessment consists of the following tasks:
Youwill read a short text (fiction or non-fiction) written within the past100 years. You will then answer 5 selected-response (multiple choice)reading comprehension questions about the text.  Then you are to write awell-focused, carefully supported response (of at least threeparagraphs) about  the text’s main theme, explaining how the authordevelops that theme through certain literary (structure, plot, images,symbolism, word choice, details, character development, etc.). Youshould 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 variedsentence 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 tosupport a position in response to the question. The position isthoroughly developed through the use of appropriate examples anddetails. There are no misconceptions about the reading selection. Thereare strong relationships among ideas. Mastery of language use andwriting conventions contributes to the effect of the response.
5:The student makes meaningful use of key ideas from within the readingselection to support a position in response to the question. Theposition is well developed through the use of appropriate examples anddetails. Minor misconceptions may be present. Relationships among ideasare clear to the reader. The language is controlled, and occasionallapses in writing conventions are hardly noticeable.
4:The student makes adequate use of ideas from within the readingselection to support a position in response to the question. Theposition is supported by examples and details. Minor misconceptions maybe present. Language use is correct. Lapses in writing conventions arenot distracting.
3:The student makes partially successful use of ideas from the readingselection to support a position in response to the question. Theposition is developed with limited use of examples and details. Thestudent focuses more on retelling the selection than on developing anidea.  Misconceptions may indicate only a partial understanding of thereading selection. Language use is correct but limited. Incompletemastery over writing conventions may interfere with meaning some of thetime.
2:The student makes minimal use of ideas from the reading selection tosupport a position in response to the question. The position isunderdeveloped. The student focuses primarily on retelling the selectionrather than developing an idea.  Major misconceptions may indicateminimal understanding of the reading selection. Limited mastery overwriting conventions may make the writing difficult to understand.
1:The student does not take a position on the question and makes onlyminimal use of ideas from the reading selection to respond to thequestion. Ideas are not developed and may be unclear. The studentfocuses mainly or exclusively on retelling the selection.  Majormisconceptions may indicate a lack of understanding of the readingselection. Lack of mastery over writing conventions may make the writingdifficult 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:

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


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

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

Allother students (those not currently enrolled in an ELA Honors course,and those not recommended for Honors by their current ELA teacher) mayqualify for placement into Honors by taking the ELA Honors PlacementExam 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.

Inaddition, to qualify for ELA Honors placement, students must haveachieved a percentile ranking (relative to their age group) of at least85% on the combined score on the STAR or NWEA Reading assessment(administered to 8th, 9th, and 10thgraders twice a year) or a percentile ranking of at least 90% on theGates-McGinitie Reading Assessment (administered to students whotransfer to South Kingstown High School).

Studentswho do not receive a recommendation for Honors placement may stillenroll in an Honors-level course if their parent or guardian submits aPlacement Waiver form to the Guidance department (and if currentenrollment numbers permit).  A qualifying score on the Honors PlacementExam is not a perfect predictor of success in an Honors class, andstudents who fall short of the qualifying score may well excel in anHonors class if they consistently and conscientiously apply thenecessary effort to succeed in a demanding course of study.  This isespecially so if the student has satisfied the other criteria forrecommendation to Honors, such as a reading test score above the 85th percentile.

Wewould discourage a student from overriding the ELA department’srecommendation, however, if her/his Honors Placement Exam score is 2 ormore points below the cutoff score for her/his grade level, as such ascore indicates that the student will be at a significant disadvantagein trying to keep up with the rigorous level of writing proficiencyexpected 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 100years.  Then you are to write a well-focused, carefully supported essay(of at least three paragraphs) in which you identify a main theme ofthe story, and describe how the author develops that theme.  Avoidunnecessary plot summary.
Question 2: You will read a short passage of poetry.  Then you are to write a carefully reasoned paragraphin which you: 1) briefly paraphrase the passage, and 2) present yourpoint of view on the subject of the passage.  Support your point withspecific 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 tosupport a position in response to the question. The position isthoroughly developed through the use of appropriate examples anddetails. There are no misconceptions about the reading selection. Thereare strong relationships among ideas. Mastery of language use andwriting conventions contributes to the effect of the response.
5:The student makes meaningful use of key ideas from within the readingselection to support a position in response to the question. Theposition is well developed through the use of appropriate examples anddetails. Minor misconceptions may be present. Relationships among ideasare clear to the reader. The language is controlled, and occasionallapses in writing conventions are hardly noticeable.
4:The student makes adequate use of ideas from within the readingselection to support a position in response to the question. Theposition is supported by examples and details. Minor misconceptions maybe present. Language use is correct. Lapses in writing conventions arenot distracting.
3:The student makes partially successful use of ideas from the readingselection to support a position in response to the question. Theposition is developed with limited use of examples and details. Thestudent focuses more on retelling the selection than on developing anidea.  Misconceptions may indicate only a partial understanding of thereading selection. Language use is correct but limited. Incompletemastery over writing conventions may interfere with meaning some of thetime.
2:The student makes minimal use of ideas from the reading selection tosupport a position in response to the question. The position isunderdeveloped. The student focuses primarily on retelling the selectionrather than developing an idea.  Major misconceptions may indicateminimal understanding of the reading selection. Limited mastery overwriting conventions may make the writing difficult to understand.
1:The student does not take a position on the question and makes onlyminimal use of ideas from the reading selection to respond to thequestion. Ideas are not developed and may be unclear. The studentfocuses mainly or exclusively on retelling the selection.  Majormisconceptions may indicate a lack of understanding of the readingselection. Lack of mastery over writing conventions may make the writingdifficult 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