Saturday, September 1, 2012

Data showing importance of rigor in middle grades

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Alan Borsuk (underlines added by me):

An eye-catching result, based on national data: ACT determines what percentage of eighth-graders meet some or all of four benchmark goals. The percentages of kids who meet zero, one, two, three or all four goals in eighth grade are almost exactly the same as the percentages who meet comparable benchmarks in 12th grade.

What does that say? "The level of academic achievement that students attain by eighth grade has a larger impact on their college and career readiness by the time they graduate high school than anything that happens academically in high school," an ACT study concluded in 2008.

In other words: If a kid is on track to do well by eighth grade, the odds are very strong the kid will do well in high school. Which is why there is a big push, in better schools, in Wisconsin as a whole and nationwide, to improve efforts to spot kids who are getting off track early and do more to help them right away.

end quote.

Our PdC Public staff, in what we call the middle grades (5 to 8), have done a wonderful job of upgrading expectations. Along with that we have increased time in the core areas and added interventions. These reforms have paid great dividends at Bluff View - an award winning school. That success is being continued and built upon. Two current discussions at Bluff View are leading the way to even higher levels.

One: The STEM team is looking at developing and implementing Algebra-Based-Physics as the 8th grade capstone (starting as early as next year) in conjunction with most students completing Integrated Math 1 in grade 8. 

STEM additional note one: we have actually accelerated some top level math students into the Integrated program in grade 7. That is a compliment to the advanced rigor in grades PK to 6. 

STEM additional note two: the PK to 4 teachers are going to the next level also with the upgrade to the Common Core aligned Everyday Math - see more on that by clicking here

Two: The Humanities team is upgrading the rigor, as the AP Human Geography text is being integrated as a backbone in that portion of the Social Studies curriculum (grade 5 to 8) and will be incorporated/used across the disciplines as technical reading. The reading level of this material is consistent with the new expected grade level lexile levels.

Humanities additional note: AP Human Geography as the Humanities backbone curriculum for grade 9 stating in 2013-2014 is being developed. This will be a cross disciplinary curriculum encompassing Social Studies, English, Reading, Special Education, and Foreign Language. If the schedule can hold, most/all of the teachers in these areas will have a common prep (PLC) all of this year to develop this integrated programming.

Celebrate: Our Bluff View Staff continues to push higher expectations leading toward higher academic excellence. Great job to all!

To read the whole Borsuk article, click here.

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