Welcome to Language Arts
Paul Duke STEM Language Arts Department Vision
The language arts department at Paul Duke STEM High School will be the literacy cornerstone, serving as the catalyst that inspires the leaders, innovators, and trailblazers of tomorrow who exemplify empathy, excellence, and enlightenment.
Paul Duke STEM Language Arts Department Mission
Through innovative and collaborative planning that values student choice, the language arts department will cultivate critical and independent thinkers who harness the power of literacy by discovering their individual voices as well as welcoming diverse and challenging tasks in the classroom and beyond.
The documents below outline the knowledge and skills students should understand in the two Language Arts courses with an End of Course Test.
The LA gradebook is set up to show progress toward mastery of our four focus areas--Reading (Informational/Literary), Writing (Narrative, Informative, Argumentative), Speaking, and Listening. Students "practice" or complete formative work, which leads to a summative assessment every three to four weeks in the areas of Reading and Writing that will indicate the level of progress towards mastery of those skills and knowledge. The labels for each assignment (AKS/description) will provide you an easy reading of what skills in what areas your student is excelling or finding problematic. Practice will rotate through those four focus areas using teacher and student choice. Summative grades will be replaced with each successive test so that the gradebook reflects current progress rather than an average of all summative grades (which punishes students for their learning curve). Therefore, to show progress towards mastery, students begin with a "zero" in the class. They take the pre-test sometime during the first two weeks of school to establish the baseline for the reading abilities in literary and informational texts. Each student and all stakeholders know exactly where the student is starting and how far we need to grow over the semester.
Every three to four weeks, we take another reading/writing assessment (CSA) that is written/formatted to mirror the county the final. These summative grades will replace the pretest grades and then each assessment replaces the one before it. In addition to grade replacement, every practice or formative or summative grade can be revised except the Interim and Finals. The summative grade in that category will then change as the student progresses towards mastery of the specific AKS. Again, each CSA is designed in the same format, with the same AKS, and identical depth of knowledge (DOK) as the final; therefore, each successive grade after the pre-test should show growth toward mastery of the AKS (thus, replacing each score within the gradebook with the latest score as to prevent grades from becoming punitive). However, these scores are only a snapshot of what a student can do on a given day, so in addition to grade replacement, teachers will also look at the scores within the body of the formative and summative work over the semester when figuring the final grade. This is why the grades are not dropped completely--the before "formative practice" grades and the grade in the gradebook might look something like this on the September CSA: 75.6345 (latest CSA score-75.last CSA score-63, pretest score-45). A grade of 70.001 means the student did not turn it in on time, but did complete the work and earned a 70.
The category called "Formative Practice" house assignments that are NOT worth a grade. It is simply in the gradebook as a record of the practice provided for each AKS and to provide an account of the progress in each AKS. In order to remain consistent in all classes within a level, every class will have the same grades that count towards the final grade; however, students and parents will see all of the practice that is being completed and at what quality. Our grades will reflect mastery and/or growth in learning over the course of a semester and through the student's body of work, which is why the practice is not necessarily included in the overall grade, but considered in reviewing the overall picture of progress in a semester. Additionally, students are allowed revisions on any and all skills, except the district assessments.