Sophomore Chemistry Placement 2013-14 – From Science Department

Dear Families of Ninth Grade Students:

This letter is to provide you with information on the upcoming registration for Chemistry. Chemistry is offered at three levels so that students can learn in a setting that matches their strengths and learning styles. Our goal is to enroll students in a course that will allow them to learn the science in the most effective way that they can.

Curriculum II Chemistry is a college preparatory, lab-based course where students receive more direct teacher support, and the class sizes are smaller on average. Curriculum I Chemistry is also a college preparatory, lab-based course, and requires the students to learn more independently, and with less scaffolding by the teacher. Honors Chemistry is a college preparatory, lab-based course that requires significant independence from the students, with the expectation that students will study the same material but in greater detail. For more detailed descriptions of these courses, please refer to the Program of Studies, available at the Newton South website. Honors Chemistry is NOT a pre-requisite for other Honors courses in science, and anyone may be recommended for any Biology course as rising juniors next year.

The Science Department has implemented an evaluation process to help place students at a level that will be the most appropriate for them. This process has been honed over a period of years, and it has yielded very reliable results. Recommendations will be based on:

  1. Science teacher assessment of facility with solving abstract problems
  2. Grades in current science class and level/grade in current math class
  3. Performance on an objective cognitive ability science exam (with a math component)
  4. Other demands on students’ time and energy (level in other courses, clubs, sports, etc.)

The exam is designed to assess how quickly students will grasp the abstract concepts in chemistry, and the facility that students will have with the mathematical component of the course. It is not necessary to study for this test, and calculators are not allowed. The exam is short and will be completed during one physics class. Keep in mind that the exam makes up only one part of the overall recommendation. We are confident that we can help your student to achieve to the best of his/her ability next year in chemistry by placing them in the most appropriate course.

Thank you,

The Science Department
Newton South High School