COmmentary On Madison’s ongoing “one Size Fits All” Curricular Experiments

Elizabeth Beyer:

With earned honors, all students are enrolled in classes with the same level of rigor and have the option to earn an honors credit using predetermined criteria at the end of each semester, based on their demonstration of knowledge and skills in the course. Students won’t have to decide in advance whether they think they’re able to achieve honors designation, and teachers won’t determine whether a student meets criteria to obtain honors status, something the district hopes will eliminate barriers to advanced course credits.

Earned honors started in the district’s Pathways program a few years ago and showed an increase in the number of students of color accessing honors designation: 54% as opposed to 41% in traditional honors courses during the 2018-19 school year. The new earned honors option has expanded throughout the district as a means of testing its efficacy before district-wide implementation.

The administration hopes to take earned honors district-wide for students entering into ninth grade by the 2022-23 school year and plans to provide staff with professional development to prepare them to teach earned honors courses before then. By the 2023-24 school year, the district plans for all 10th grade honors options to be earned, as well.

Related: English 10.