Course Standards Policy
Mandatory Course Evaluations:
Teachers are required to administer mid-course and end of course evaluations. Semester long course evaluations should be done at the end of each quarter. The Curriculum Committee of the Council is responsible for verifying that evaluations are administered. For more information see the Course Evaluation Survey Report.
Adopted by Committee on Instruction - June 9, 2015
Amended by SAU on October 7, 2020
Accommodations, commonly part of a plan for a student who has a permanent or temporary disability, are outlined in a formal individual education plan (IEP) or 504 plan. Accommodations level the playing field, allowing students full access to the curriculum without changing it.
Students seeking accommodations in honors-level courses (a) must meet departmental qualifications and (b) must be capable of working with content material at a faster pace and in greater depth than would be expected in the non-honors level equivalent courses. For students with disabilities, teachers will adhere to the accommodations stated in the IEP or 504 plan with the exception that classwork and homework expectations in honors-level courses will not be modified with respect to volume, pace and rigor.
Modifications are course changes, outlined in an IEP, that substantially reduce the curriculum in terms of volume, pace, and/or rigor. While accommodations level the playing field, modifications substantively change the playing field. For example, if a student with a print disability needs all texts available in electronic form, this would be an accommodation. If a student needs texts available at a lower reading level, this would be a modification. Modifications may lead to course individualization.
This option is assigned in cases that involve such significant reductions to a course’s curriculum, volume, pace, and/or rigor that the student’s academic experience and learning are fundamentally different from their classmates and, as such, require a different grade designation. Courses may be assigned pass/fail for the following reasons:
- A course may be pass/fail when a student on an IEP or a 504 plans team determines that this change is necessary for the student to receive a free appropriate education. An administrator must agree with the team.
- A course may be changed to pass/fail for a student who has had a sudden, severe, and/or traumatic experience; this will be determined by a team that must include the teacher, the student's counselor, and an administrator.
Stages of Intervention
For students receiving special assistance through an IEP, the curriculum may be adjusted in non-honors courses if the adjustment is developed cooperatively by the learning specialist, parent, and classroom teacher and is included in the student’s IEP. An IEP meeting may be called as a student’s needs change.
For students on a 504 Plan, or in the RTN program, requests for adjusting courses are subject to the following protocol:
- Students on a 504 plan should be using the appropriate accommodations set forth in the student’s 504 Plan.
- If the student is not successful in the class, the student will be required to use available resources such as resource centers, supervised study, and tutors, and may receive an academic schedule-up.
For students who are outside our Special Education, 504, and RTN programs and are determined to be struggling to meet basic course expectations, these incremental steps should be followed:
- Students should avail themselves of regular education resources (e.g. resource centers, supervised study, etc.).
- Students who continue to struggle academically despite availing themselves of these regular education resources should move to the next lower level in the same subject, i.e. Biology to General Biology.
- Students with a long-standing (e.g. 6 months) history of difficulty or inability to do course work should be referred to 504 or Special Education.
Please note: The failure to do homework in a course is not a reason to move, change, or modify a course.
Course Standards Policy
At the end of the first week of each course, teachers will give their students the following written information:
- Statement of course objectives
- Tentative bibliography of required readings
- Tentative major test schedule
- Major written assignments and tentative due dates
- Any special projects and tentative due dates
- Attendance requirements for the course
- Description of the grading system to be used to include the level of achievement necessary for each grade (A, B, C, D, NC)
- The requirements and nature of the course-completing experiences (e.g. final exam, conference, final paper, demonstration, project, etc.)
- Specific plans for review prior to mid-year and final exams
- Standards for eating food in the classroom
- Standards for being excused from class for personal or emergency reasons
All sections of the same course must have the same grade weighting, retake, and lateness policies. This will be specified at the beginning of a course in the course standards.
Note: Student use of computers during tests, including midterm and final exams, is permitted only as outlined in Accommodations to Course Standards, below.