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Overriding for High School Honors

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Replies to: Overriding for High School Honors

  • ruthstoopsruthstoops Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    I got this from his English teachers. Seems a pretty conclusive "don't do this" to me. Our school definitely does not encourage trying out and then dropping down, even though it is a classic pressure cooker high school.

    x is a solid ACP recommendation for me. I do love his enthusiasm for reading and his excellent class participation. I would like to see his analytical skills and writing skills strengthen a bit before he tries Honors, and I think the ACP environment will do that for him. I get the sense the Honors curriculum and pace might be a little overwhelming for x.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,585 Senior Member
    Unless you have reason to doubt the teacher, I would follow the recommendation.

    I have a family member whose HS will not allow more than 3 H in freshman year. They want kids to have a smooth transition. There is some good sense in that approach.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 74,612 Senior Member
    Some high schools are more transparent about honors placement. E.g. to take the honors course, a student had to have earned a B in the previous honors course or an A in the previous regular course.
  • MomO5MomO5 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    As 4gsmom says, mileage may vary. My son's high school is the exact opposite of her daughters'. They explicitly say, "we'd rather say to your child 'hey, you're doing great, let's move you up!' than 'Um, sorry, you're not cutting it, you've got to move down.'"

    Your best resource for this question is going to be people who really know your school -- the teachers, the guidance counselors, and the other parents. It sounds like his 8th grade ELA teacher has thought this through; I'd be inclined to trust the placement for now, assuming it's possible to move up in future years.
  • Nicki20Nicki20 Registered User Posts: 286 Junior Member
    PSAT 8/9 is coordinated through the grade and high school districts. If you get a high enough score on the reading writing part generally no matter what the junior high teacher may be you would be put in honors. The only thing a teachers recommendation might help if you didn't have a high enough score and he or she thinks you should be in honors. in your case if you had a test score certainly that would help your case.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,624 Senior Member
    Our high school has no honors for freshman level courses. (In math and science where they can take a high school level course in 8th grade the next level up courses are offered in both regular and honors sections.) They claim that kids often take time adjusting to high school or conversely may step up their game once they are in high school. I do know that looking around the history and English classes on Meet the Teacher night that there appeared to be some sorting going on nevertheless.
  • LizardlyLizardly Registered User Posts: 2,457 Senior Member
    I think this depends on the school, so seek out some moms with older kids and get the scoop. My kids' extremely large and diverse public was sluggish about correctly placing advanced kids, especially freshmen. It was worth talking to the counselors about moving a kid up early, before he fell behind for the year. The best scenario was when the kid himself wanted to be moved up and went and talked to the counselor. (One of my kids was incorrectly placed, not due to teacher rec, but due to an oversight. He didn't like it and took it upon himself to come up with a schedule that worked for him and worked for the school.)
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,335 Senior Member
    Freshmen placement in DD's HS was based on PSAT 8/9 scores, 8th grade grades, and teacher recommendations. Parents were welcome to go in and make a case for a change, but they had to argue against those three data points. From what I understand, a fair number of parents had the conversation, but almost all of them in the end accepted the school's suggestions.

    Honors classes move at a MUCH faster pace, making it extremely difficult to move up. For that reason, there is an advantage to bumping up as an incoming freshman. Dropping a level, if that is permitted in your school, is generally easier than going up once classes are underway.

    The other side of that coin is that DD went from 60-90 minutes of homework a night in her advanced 8th grade classes up to 3-4 hours a night as an honors track freshman. That was her recommended placement - and what she wanted - and she is doing well. That was a tough adjustment. However, many of her college-prep-level friends had similarly tough adjustments, because their level of rigor increased as well.

    The deciding factor for me would be how your student feels about it, and whether you feel his work ethic and time management skills are up to the challenge.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 2,059 Senior Member
    In a few of the hs I'm familiar with, the parent can override any of the teacher's recommendation and/or the results of the placement tests for the more advanced course. However once in the more advanced course, student cannot drop back to a less advanced course.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,644 Senior Member
    edited March 10
    I despise that rule mentioned in post # 17. Students are ready for the next level- middle school, HS, college. Freshman year classes are geared to the level of the new students. One size never fits all. Some students need the heavier schedules. For some, ignoring the usual study hall, numbers of honors/AP classes is necessary to mitigate boredom. Plunge right in.

    OP- your son is in that difficult borderline area. Should he "go for it"? Or not? Knowing your child through his schooling thus far helps. You need a nice, however long, discussion with him about the direction to take. How enthusiastic is he about being challenged, how scared is he (and can his fears be minimized), how bored might he be...

    It could be that he likes the idea of being in the top tier of students. Your vote of confidence in his abilities may be the nudge for him to perform better. He may be willing to work on deficits to be allowed in the top classes. Your discussion (remember it is a two way talk) should reveal how he feels after learning your ideas.
  • scubadivescubadive Registered User Posts: 833 Member
    In our school you can waive any class placement with the stroke of the pen. My youngest struggled with english and while I was reluctant to go with honor’s, I have no regrets. My child blossomed and is a gifted writer but in middle school you wouldn’t have known. Only you know your child but a b here or there or even a c does not mean they won’t excel.
  • Proud3894Proud3894 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    My son was a poor writer in the 8th grade and thus was not recommend for Honors English class in the 9th grade. My vision was for my son to take as many honors/AP classes as possible in high school but I was realistic of what was needed to get him on track for advanced English classes. After I signed a waiver to get him into honors English, I became his writing tutor and read all of his novels during his freshman year. After his freshman year, he no longer needed my assistance. He went on to earn all A’s in all of his English honors and AP classes in HS. He also received all A’s in his writing classes at Cornell.

    I have colleagues at work from non-English speaking countries who have hired writing tutors for their kids. All of them have performed very well in MD/MS/PHD programs.

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