Curriculum and Instruction Adjustments for the Second Marking Period and Beyond
On Dec. 3, the Board of Education received updates about student performance in the first marking period, which indicated an increase in failure rates for many middle and high school students. In an effort to address concerns about students’ academic progress and respond to feedback from students, staff and parents about virtual learning, adjustments are being made to improve the student/teacher experience, promote student well-being, and ensure that students are progressing in the curriculum. These adjustments are also being made in response to feedback about the virtual schedule, the content and pace of the curriculum, student course load and workload, and number and frequency of assessments. Adjustments for the second marking period include:
- Ongoing review of curriculum content and pacing, and reduction in number of lessons and content covered;
- The winter MAP administration has changed from required to optional for all grade levels;
- Adjustment to the elementary schedule on Wednesdays;
- At the secondary level, reduction of required progress checks in mathematics, English and ESOL;
- At the secondary level, adjustments to Grading and Reporting Guidance to include:
- Removal of the required 10% grading category for district assessments (Progress Checks)
- Reduction in the recommended range of graded assignments
- Additional flexibility for students with due dates and deadlines
- More explicit guidance about implementation of the “50% Rule” to mark a grade of “E” in place of zero.
- Expanded professional learning and school support for teachers and administrators;
- Deployment of school well-being teams to directly support students
MCPS will continue to develop plans for additional learning time, which will include tutoring, Saturday programs, summer school and long-range curriculum planning that addresses reduced instructional time as a result of the pandemic and virtual learning. MCPS will continue to make ongoing adjustments to curriculum and assessments as needed.
Aspects of the secondary schedule are also being explored to determine what can be improved for the second semester. Students will be provided opportunities to reduce their overall course load at the secondary level, while ensuring that that students remain on track for graduation and are prepared for future coursework. More information about making these adjustments for the second semester will be shared soon. MCPS will also be working closely with external organizations, such as the College Board and the International Baccalaureate, as they monitor the impact of COVID-19 worldwide and make adjustments to the format and content of the May 2021 exams. Additional information about changes for the second semester will be provided in January.