Honors Assessment Explanation
During the 2009-2010 school year, LCPS began weighting all courses with an Honors designation. All weighted courses must have a defined assessment according to the Code of Virginia. This is to ensure some consistency in the level of rigor across the county, both within and among schools. Consequently, the English Leadership Team (the English Instructional Supervisor, the English Instructional Specialist and the Department Chair from each high school) along with a committee of teachers developed a set of Honors Assessments that were first implemented last spring. Last year, these assessments counted as 20% of the student’s final exam grade.
Based on a great deal of data and feedback from teachers around the county, the English Leadership Team has made significant improvement to these assessments, and this year the Honors Assessments will count as 50% of the student’s final exam grade. Students will take an essay section in late May which will count as 60% of the Honors Assessment grade and a multiple choice section during the exam period which will count as 40% of this grade. Students will also take their regular, teacher-designed final exam during this exam period. Teachers are designing exams that are shorter in length than they typically would (though no less rigorous), since a significant portion of the two-hour exam will be taken up by the multiple choice section of the Honors Assessment.
The Honors Assessments are rigorous, challenging tests that measure students’ ability to analyze complex literary texts, write coherent essays, and identify the use of sophisticated literary terms from the LCPS curriculum. Both the essay and multiple choice sections are modeled after the types of tasks students would see on an A.P. English exam, though not nearly as challenging and designed with increasing levels of rigor from the 9th grade to the 11th grade. All Honors teachers are aware of the format of the Honors Assessment and general content from which it is drawn, and they have spent time throughout the year preparing them to engage in these types of assessment tasks. However, other than the department chairs, none of the English teachers in the county are aware of the specific content or assessment tasks on the Honors Assessments.If you have any questions regarding these assessments, please feel free to contact the English department chair, Chris Cuozzo, at Christopher.Cuozzo@lcps.org.