Madison’s High School “Coursework Review”

Average GPA in Core Subjects in 8th and 9th Grades and Percentage of Students Receiving a D or F in a Core Course in 9th Grade, by Feeder School, 2010 – 2013:

Madison School District 1.3MB PDF Presentation:

In focus groups, several teachers noted what they perceived to be a lack of adequate preparation their students received in previous years, and in some cases a lack of understanding about the curriculum to which their students have been exposed.

In focus groups at each MMSD school, a broad majority of students stated they have been in classes where the instructional purpose and relevance of what they were learning was unclear.

Each set of stakeholders interviewed for this project referenced the challenges posed by poor alignment of instruction from one grade level to the next, particularly between middle and high schools.

In focus groups, several teachers and students alike noted that adjusting to increased levels of homework in high school was a challenge for many.

Student focus groups reported varying experiences in Middle School with homework counting towards students’ overall grades may be contributing to a difficult transition into high school for some students

There is significant lack of course syllabi across schools.

When asked what a diploma should mean, there was much consensus across stakeholder groups that it should include the following, but also a lack of confidence that an MMSD diploma currently represented each of these for all graduates:

Competence in core subject areas
Exposure to a broad curriculum including the arts
Reading and critical thinking skills
Having a global perspective
Knowledge and ability to access employment and/or postsecondary education
Ability to work in groups
Curiosity as a lifelong learner
“Real world” experience tied to the classroom
Citizenship and self-sufficiency
“21st Century skills”

Redefine What an MMSD Diploma Means By Setting Common Learning Outcomes and Assessments for All Graduates

Create Clear Personalized Student Pathways

Define Multiple Career-Field and Academic Pathways for High School Students

Engage Deeply with Local Postsecondary Stakeholders for Alignment and Expansion of Dual Credit Options

Continue to Engage With Local Employers for Alignment and Student Work-Based Learning Opportunities

Continue to Promote and Develop AVID as a Pathway Option, While Monitoring More Closely Before Expanding

Encourage Innovation in Projects and Assessments

Regarding the “lack of course syllabi”, full, required implementation of Infinite Campus (or similar) would address this issue. Millions have been spent…

Number of Students in Class of 2013 Who Took AP World Language Courses, by High School and Feeder Middle School, 2010-2013

The Most Failed Courses in 9th Grade with Percentage of Students With One Failed Semester by School, 2013

AP courses available at all four comprehensive high schools:

Calculus AB
Calculus BC
French Language
Spanish Language
Environmental Science
European History

Select AP courses not available at all high schools:

Proportion of Students Enrolled in AP Courses and Scoring a 3 or Higher on AP Exams by Race and SpEd/ELL Status, 2013

The Most Failed Courses in 9th Grade with Percentage of Students With One Failed Semester by School, 2013

Background links: English 10

Small Learning Communities

High School “Redesign”