8th Grade Accelerated American History

Program Description

This eighth-grade class is designed for students who have advanced verbal and social studies skills. The focus of the class will be to examine our place in history as American citizens, to discover the development of our culture, and to appreciate how the world views America. Students will be engaged in higher order thinking skills through interpretive discussions, simulations, essay writing, and current events problem-solving.

Program Rationale Statement

This course was created at the request of administration and parents who wanted to have a class at the junior-high level that was challenging due to the advanced content and fast pace that would prepare students for the greatest success in the AP level classes at the high school.

Identification Criteria

In the past, nationally-normed writing, reading, social studies, and non-verbal intelligence tests were used to create an initial screening list. From this list, grades in social studies, teacher checklists, and standard proficiency in social studies were compiled into a matrix and scored. Those 20-25 students (roughly ten percent) with the highest cumulative scores on the matrix, after being prioritized, were invited to participate in the class. This process was used to determine those students with the greatest need to be challenged as demonstrated by the above matrix items.

Currently, the district has no nationally-normed tests and only one standard assessment in grade seven, but we do have the PAWS. Those reading and writing scores, when obtained, will be built into the matrix, along with grades and teacher recommendations. The students will be prioritized as before.

Selection Process

The selection process is part of the identification process as described above. The current instructor in collaboration with the eighth-grade counselor reviews the prioritization and selects students accordingly.

Appeals Process

Parents may appeal, but the determination is made based upon the rank on the prioritization matrix.  A student ranked 35th certainly cannot supersede those who are at places 25 through 34 on the list.