FAQ on Ninth Grade Course Offerings
In 2018, the District was identified for State Differentiated Assistance because of the low performance of some sub-groups on State Dashboard Indicators. At the end of a county facilitated process, the District changed its practice of putting some ninth graders in a science class that did not receive credit for college admissions (non-UC A-G) and instead placed all diploma track ninth graders into a common UC A-G science class. In the first year alone, over 100 more ninth graders who would not have received A-G science credit did. Also of concern were the District’s Dashboard results in math. While the District did not heterogeneously group math, it did place students previously in algebra readiness into algebra. Again, students rose to the challenge. At the site level, with District support, most schools have now chosen to combine their 9th grade college prep English classes. There have also been some site level changes in honors level science classes, with positive outcomes for all students. In short, the performance of students who are socio-economically disadvantaged has vastly improved with the heterogeneous grouping, without the performance of traditionally high-performing students falling either in the heterogeneously grouped courses and only improving in AP/IB test performance.
For a presentation on this work, please visit Presentation: Streamlining Courses_ Board Study Session September 22, 2023.pdf. Should you wish an even deeper dive, please visit the 120 page findings of these course changes thus far by visiting Document: DW - Analysis for Board Study Session_Public Version_092023. Answers to the most frequently asked questions are below:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FAQ 1: Are all Sequoia Union High School District ninth graders now placed in the same classes?
No. In English, students reading below a sixth-grade level take one of two lower level courses. Students reading at a sixth- or seventh-grade level take the same English class as their at or above grade level peers, but have an additional support class to ensure they can access ninth grade English at the same level as their peers. At Carlmont, there is an additional level of English with AS being offered. In math and world languages, students are placed by prior-year course work. Ethnic studies and science are heterogeneously grouped with all students taking UC A-G level courses.
FAQ 2: Is Sequoia Union High School District heterogeneously grouping 10th graders?
No, and the District has no plans to do so.
FAQ 3: Is Sequoia Union High School District reducing the number of AP/IB classes it offers?
No. All comprehensive high schools offer and will continue to offer more AP/IB courses than any one student can take. There are currently over 20 courses at each comprehensive high school that earn the college grade bump: AP/IB/Honors Bump Visualization.
FAQ 4: What has happened to AP/IB pass rates since the District started heterogeneously grouping some pre-AP/IB classes?
AP/IB participation and pass rates have gone up significantly in course pathways where heterogeneous grouping has occurred.
FAQ 5: Have AP/IB classes become more diverse since the District started heterogeneously grouping some pre-AP/IB classes?
No. We still hope to see more underrepresented groups opting to take AP/IB classes.
FAQ 6: What has happened to UC A-G College Requirement completion since the District started heterogeneously grouping some pre-AP/IB classes?
They have gone up significantly, with far more socio-economically disadvantaged students joining their classmates in successfully meeting A-G requirements.
FAQ 7: Where can I find detailed information about the heterogeneous grouping work the District has done?
Please visit the presentation from the September 20th Board Study Session for details about and results of the specific courses heterogeneously grouped: Presentation: Streamlining Courses_ Board Study Session September 22, 2023.pdf
FAQ 8: Will the District continue to track the results of heterogeneous grouping to make sure it is helping and not harming students?
Yes. For a look at the first report on the results of heterogeneous grouping, please visit Document: DW - Analysis for Board Study Session_Public Version_092023. The District will continue to annually look at the results of heterogeneous grouping to ensure that it continues to benefit all students.
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