RECOMMENDATION POLICY FOR ADVANCED, HONORS, AND AP-LEVEL CLASSES During the spring of each year, all requests for advanced, Honors, and AP-level classes are reviewed individually by the student’s adviser, current teacher, department chair, and the Director of Studies. The decisions made by faculty and administration reflect professional judgments regarding what will guarantee a student’s overall academic success in the upcoming year as well as her proven ability to manage time, work independently, involve herself in other activities (such as fine arts, sports, clubs), and maintain a healthy balance among all her commitments. In particular, we look for the following qualities in any student who wants to accelerate in her academic choices: 1. Current Grades Honors course recommendations recognize student achievement—not just aptitude—in a particular subject area. While academic departments may have varying minimum grade requirements for a student being accepted into an advanced-level course or remaining in one, all agree that placement is based on performance not ability. 2. Intellectual Engagement Intellectual curiosity and engagement are essential in an advanced-level class. Meeting the grade requirement alone does not qualify a student for placement. 3. Class Participation An Honors student should consistently and voluntarily contribute to her learning environment in the form of class discussion, oral reports, presentations, group work, helping other students, etc. Successful but shy students who make a sincere effort to participate will be considered for placement; however, students who do not contribute to class discussions, do not engage with other students, do not see their teachers outside of class are not strong candidates for advanced placement. 4. Dedication Characteristics that indicate seriousness of purpose in an advanced-level class are: close attention during class and constructive contributions, consistent study habits and meticulous class preparation, good attendance without tardiness, and a mature attitude toward the work involved in the class. 5. Management of Course Requirements An Honors student should have demonstrated the ability to complete larger volumes of reading, to produce longer and more sophisticated pieces of writing, to move through material at a faster pace, to relish more depth of study, to work independently. This includes meeting deadlines, managing long-term projects, and accepting higher expectations as a welcome challenge rather than a chore. 6. Capacity for Abstract Thinking Any student who requests an advanced-level class should be able to move beyond a literal or concrete level of thinking and prove herself able to deal with abstraction, implication and inference, metaphor, synthesis, irony, discovery and deduction, and other levels of coherent analysis. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity should be capacities the student has already demonstrated, even though she may indeed develop these traits further as a result of the Honors class. 7. Fundamental Skills in Reading, Writing, Vocabulary, and Computation No student who requests any advanced-level class should need basic level work in reading, writing, vocabulary, or computation. Such minimal skills are taken for granted in Honors students to allow instead for emphasis on analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and higher-level thinking. In assessing such capabilities, teachers, department chairs, and the Director of Studies may refer to a student’s standardized test scores as well as classroom performance and current grades. Such reference may be especially likely for entrance into an Advanced Placement class where a standardized test from the College Board is the final assessment. 8. Social and Emotional Maturity Reading more challenging works and discussing more controversial topics demand maturity. An advanced-level student should be able to handle setbacks, should refrain from subjective reactions to sophisticated texts or topics, should be a role-model for her peers.