Homework policy, weighted classes await WACO students
By BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
WAYLAND — A homework policy and weighted courses will be something new during the 2013-14 school year at WACO junior and senior high school.
School board members Monday nigh approved the homework policy and placing a number of classes on a 5.0, instead of a 4.0, grading scale.
The homework policy includes some regulations for homework assignments and also a testing schedule.
Homework is defined in the policy as “work assigned to be done completely outside school hours.”
Following are the major points in the new policy.
“Graded homework will only be assigned and should be expected in 5.0/college-level courses. Daily homework will not be assigned in all other classes.
“Classroom instruction will follow the Doug Fisher model of direct instruction, guided instruction and independent practice. Independent practice time will be provided during class following guided instruction.
“Independent practice may need to be completed outside of the school day if not completed during the time provided in class. The amount of independent practice will be determined by research-based (standardized and local) grade-level expectations.
“The opportunity for extra independent practice outside the classroom will be available to all students. Extra practice will provide reinforcement, application and greater opportunity for mastery of what is taught in class, prepare students for meaningful class participation and help them more successfully demonstrate the ‘I can’ statements in each class.
“Summative assessments (projects, research assignments, etc.) may be administered in all classes. Due dates and clear expectations for success will be established at the beginning of the unit. Progress is expected to be made by the student outside of school hours.”
Asked how the district will determine the success of this policy, Dr. Darrell Smith, superintendent of schools, said, “It will be self-monitored, but Todd (Werner, high school principal) will evaluate this.”
Weighted courses will include: advanced biology, human anatomy, physics, college English, two college U.S. History courses, two sociology courses, FST, pre-calculus, calculus, Spanish IV, college computer applications and college computer programming.
Smith termed the weighing of the classes “a little more of a reward for taking a difficult class. We will evaluate this and see if it increases enrollment (in the weighted courses).”
He said class ranking is not a key element at the school since WACO does not name a valedictorian and salutatorian, but a grade-point average weighs heavily in admission consideration to some colleges. “Community colleges are much more sensitive to grade-point average,” the superintendent said. “Four-year schools tend to look more at the activities participated in and ACT scores.”
To avoid the danger of seven tests on one day at the end of the week and to help students manage their time preparing for assessments, a test schedule was approved for grades 7-12.
English and non-core courses tests will be given on Monday; math on Tuesday; science on Wednesday; and social sciences on Thursday. The test schedule will be re-evaluated each quarter and the schedule may be rotated quarterly.
Semester tests are not subject to the regular assigned days for tests, but will follow the assigned semester testing schedule. All required core-subject 4.0 (grading scale) classes and all 5.0 (weighted) courses will have a semester test on the assigned semester testing schedule.
College courses may test any day of the week.