recommendation policy for advanced, honors, and

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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.
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