Honor Point System at Mahomet-Seymour High School
Honors and Advanced Placement courses are designed for high-ability, high-achieving students who want to be challenged and to enhance their critical thinking and critical analysis skills. Students will read and write more, analyze materials, synthesize ideas, solve problems and evaluate. The level of performance in these courses will be demanding and much above that of students in a regular course. Each honors class will be reviewed every two years by the division head and principal of MSHS.
In the 1997-1998 school year, Mahomet-Seymour High School implemented the honors point system of weighted grading for students taking academic courses designated as honors and advanced placement (AP). In order for this system to be fairly implemented for all high school students, it began with the class of 2001. During the 2001-2002 school year an internal audit of these programs was implemented. Advanced Placement classes were not included in this audit.
• An honor point system, for honors and AP courses will be used for calculation of class rank, students’ class grades, academic letter and honor roll eligibility.
• The honor points will be calculated for all four years of the students’ high school experience.
• No honors points will be given for a grade of less than a C.
Based on the survey of schools that use an honor system, the weight for honors courses was decided to be 1.25 times the grade; and the weight for AP courses will be 1.5.
Students who desire to earn maximum honors points need to carefully plan their four-year course sequence with their counselors and pay attention to the following subject-by-subject patterns.
The following honors classes are presently available for our MSHS students.
11th English III (Honors) 1 credit
12th College Preparatory Writing (Honors) ½ credit
12th British Literature (Honors) ½ credit
12th AP English Literature/Composition (High Honors) 1 credit
9/10th Geometry (Honors) 1 credit
10/11th Algebra II (Honors) 1 credit
11th Pre-Calculus (Honors) 1 credit
11th/12th Trigonometry (Honors) ½ credit
11th/12th Statistics (Honors) ½ credit
12th AP Calculus (BC) 1 credit
11/12th Chemistry II (Honors) ½ credit
11/12th Physics (Honors) 1credit
11/12th AP Biology 1 credit
11/12th AP Chemistry 1 credit
11/12th AP Physics 1 credit
11th Government & Law II (Honors) ½ credit
11th AP U.S. History (High Honors) 1 credit
12th Sociology (Honors) ½ credit
12th Economics (Honors) ½ credit
10/11th French or Spanish III (Honors) 1 credit
11/12th French or Spanish III/IV (Honors) 1 credit
12 AP French or Spanish 1 credit
12 Chamber Choir (Honors) 1 credit
12 Wind Ensemble (Honors) 1 credit
Listed below is a brief statement describing highlights of each honors class and ideas for future consideration to make the class even more rewarding for the MSHS student.
ENGLISH HONORS COURSES
• Students will acquire a deeper understanding of the forms and themes of American literature and the historical activity that influenced written works during each era studied.
• Students will apply advanced critical analysis skills to works of greater difficulty in content/structure/form
• Students will read a recognized classic American novel and complete a critical analysis.
• Students learn about different writing modes and complete writing assignments using these different modes: narrative, persuasive, expository (including cause/effect, problem/solution, etc.), a literary analysis, and the college application essay.
• These modes are studied in more depth than in standard English III sections. The course proceeds more quickly through the writing units, and papers are typically longer.
• Grammar study assumes students have a working knowledge base in parts of speech and sentences and moves to the study of more complex constructions based on phrases and clauses.
• Students complete a source-based paper of 4-6 pages, minimum, using MLA format to document all sources.
College Preparatory Writing
• Writing instruction emphasizes the skills students will need to succeed in a college atmosphere with emphasis on proper MLA format as well as an understanding of the differences the various modes of writing require (including narrative, persuasive, expository, and writing about literature)
• Frequent essays, revision exercises, and a midterm paper will be a prominent part of the class.
• The understanding of grammar needed to perform good editing is emphasized.
• The final examination will consist of an 8-12 page paper that incorporates all of their learning in the areas of writing and format.
• Senior British Literature Honors students will acquire a deeper understanding of the forms and themes of British literature and the historical activity that influenced written works during each era studied.
• Students will apply advanced critical analysis skills to works of greater difficulty in content/structure/form.
• Students will read at least one recognized classic British novel and complete at least one critical analysis.
• In a final project, students will research a classical British author not already discussed in course content and give an 8-10 minute formal presentation on said author, using visual aids and citing excerpts from famous works.
• Senior AP English students will work throughout the year to apply advanced critical analysis skills to selected readings, writing assignments, presentations, and class discussions.
• Students will read, analyze, discuss, and write about a minimum of 12 novels, 2 plays, and a variety of prose and poetry selections of recognized literary merit.
• Students are challenged to integrate knowledge of literary elements along with an understanding of historical, social, and cultural themes into all coursework.
• Course writing will emphasize a thorough understanding of a text through analysis, evaluation, interpretation, and argument. Writings will be in the form of response papers, reading notes, timed essays, and formal analysis essays involving a research component.
• Grammar lessons are integrated on an as needed basis to improve the level of student writing.
• Students will complete a summer project.
• Major assignments: Students complete a formal literary analysis paper involving the inclusion of published literary criticism. Students also complete a writing portfolio and a symposium project that synthesizes all that they have learned throughout the year.
MATH and SCIENCE HONORS COURSES
This course will cover all of the concepts of Geometry at an accelerated pace that will allow for the exploration of several additional topics, such as advanced graphing of quadratics and absolute values. Technology will be incorporated through the use of Geometer Sketchpad software. Students will also complete supplementary projects.
This class is a requirement for Pre-Calculus Honors] This course will cover all the concepts of Algebra II at an accelerated pace with additional curriculum including conic sections, matrix operations and applications of a graphics calculator.
A semester long course on data organization, measures of central tendency, variability, probability, and inferential statistics. This course covers most of the same material as a beginning level college statistics course. Class projects show how statistics can be applied to real life situations in terms of statistical surveys and graphical manipulations.
A semester long course introducing trigonometry through the use of the unit circle and right triangles. Other topics covered include trigonometric functions and their graphs. This course pays special attention to college preparation.
Topics studied include trigonometry, complex numbers, vectors, polynomials, logarithms, conic sections, polar coordinates, and matrices. Calculus concepts of limits, continuity, and first derivatives are introduced
This course is the equivalent of two semesters of college calculus and prepares students for the AP Calculus BC test. Topics include: derivatives, applications of derivatives, integrals, applications of integrals, limits, approximation methods, techniques of integration, vector, parametric, polar functions, and Taylor series.
This one semester course further develops the laboratory skills and basic knowledge of chemical principles. The study of inorganic qualitative analysis is a major part of the course. Included is a more in-depth study of types of reactions and equations, oxidation-reduction, stoichiometry, chemical kinetics, acid-base theory and equilibria of molecules, ions and water.
This yearlong course is designed to be the equivalent of the general chemistry course usually taken during the first year of college. The course emphasizes chemical calculation and the mathematical formulation of chemical principles. The student will need to purchase a carbonless copy laboratory notebook so that a permanent record of the laboratories may be kept as proof to colleges of experiments completed. Topics covered will include: stoichiometry, reactions in solution, oxidation reduction, properties of gases, atomic structure, periodicity, chemical bonding,
This course is designed to be the equivalent of a college introductory biology course. The two main goals of AP Biology are to help students develop a conceptual framework for contemporary biology and to appreciate science as a process. The three main areas of content are: molecules and cells, heredity and evolution, and organisms and populations. Written explanations of concepts in these areas through essays, formal lab reports and experimental designs are emphasized. Completion of a summer assignment is required.
Topics covered include mechanics (kinematics, dynamics, momentum, and energy), waves (wave properties, sounds, geometric optics, and physical optics), and electricity and magnetism (fields and forces, potential, circuits, and electro-magnetism).
AP Physics (B):
This course is designed to be the equivalent of a non-calculus based, first-year college level physics course. Major topics include: mechanics (kinematics, dynamics, statics, work, energy, momentum, and rotations), waves (wave properties, mechanical waves, sound waves, and optics), and electricity and magnetism (electric and magnetic forces and fields, potential, capacitors, circuits, and induction). Also covered in less detail are fluids, thermodynamics, and modern physics topics.
SOCIAL STUDIES HONORS COURSES
Government and Law II:
• This course provides students the opportunity to study the American legal system in more depth than the prerequisite Government and Law I course.
• Students will study, analyze, and discuss in detail at least 34 major U.S. Supreme Court cases and write a case study for each one.
• Students will be engaged in a semester project entitled “Mock U.S. Supreme Court” which requires each student to perform extensive legal research, write a brief abstract, write a supplemental brief, and present a ten minute oral argument defending the legal position supported in the written work.
• Unit examinations require students to demonstrate advanced essay writing skill.
Ideas for consideration: Perform an evaluation of the curriculum revisions most recently completed.
• This course is designed as a survey of the major themes and topics of Sociology, which is focused upon preparation for student enrollment in college Sociology, Anthropology, and Psychology classes.
• The text employed in the class is a college level text and the reading level is demanding.
• Sociology students will complete a semester long verification study project. This project requires the student to compile information through the gathering of primary source data, which must then be analyzed, interpreted, written in research paper form, and presented to the class and defended.
• Unit examinations require students to demonstrate advanced essay writing skills.
• This course is a survey of the principles of Economics and includes units on both macro and microeconomic concepts and models. This strategy is commensurate with the requirement to adequately prepare students for college courses.
• The text, which is designed to be used in a full year course, is covered in 15 weeks of class instruction. This indicates the pace of the class is consistent with the rigor of an honors level class.
• The student will participate in a project that will require them to start and run a successful business, demonstrating understanding of concepts related to market organizations, supply and demand, and business operations.
• The student will complete a project on labor-management relations, which will require each student to research, write, and present facts and information about a specific portion of a collective bargaining agreement.
• This course will require students to demonstrate advanced essay writing skills on a variety of written assignments.
AP United States History:
Advanced Placement U.S. History offers students the opportunity to experience a two semester college-level survey course covering American history from pre-discovery times to the present. Students who enroll in this class should expect a strong emphasis to be placed on reading and writing skills. Assignments will include regular text reading, supplemental reading, essay writing, and a research paper. In order to cover the material recommended by the College Board, students will be required to complete a summer reading and writing assignment.
WORLD LANGUAGE HONORS COURSES
The advanced study of Spanish and French continues to emphasize and encourage students to express themselves in a second language through a variety of activities including: cultural concepts; geography; grammar; history; famous Spanish and French-speaking people; literature; and art. Students’ studies focus on communicative skills, global understanding and content-based instruction. Students should be prepared to listen to and use the target language 100% of class time. Students are encouraged to buy a dictionary and verb conjugation book for use in advanced language classes.
Spanish Honors Courses
Spanish III: The topics at this level concentrate on a Humanities focus with content-based instruction. Highlights are
• Interspersed grammar review
• Strategies to improve listening, speaking, reading and writing skills
• Expansion of vocabulary by topic
• Comparison of literature genres and authentic language to describe and illustrate them
• Spanish surrealism and Mexican muralism
• 3 page term paper written in Spanish
• Internet technology for research
• Storytelling skills
Spanish IV: The topics at this level continue the content-based curriculum focus with emphasis on college preparation strategies. Highlights are
• History and geography of Spain (1 semester)
• Reading Strategies through Literature
• Advanced Grammar: Subjunctive (past and present) and Commands
• Spanish foods and History
• Bullfighting: history, analysis, and persuasive essay
• Practice College Board exams, proficiency, placement, AP
• Comparison of modern languages (transfer of language learning skills)
Spanish V (AP Spanish): The Advanced Placement Spanish Language class focuses on expanding grammar and vocabulary topics already learned in previous classes. It also includes intense practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to prepare for the Advanced Placement Exam. The class also includes the study of culture through literature, film, and a video series.
French Honors Classes
French III: The content-based instruction at this level focus on the French-speaking world. Highlights include:
• Geography terminology and study of French-speaking countries
• Comparison of other cultures to our own through discussion of songs, stories, art, and regalia
• Expansion of vocabulary by topic
• Introduction of advanced French grammar (double-object pronouns; future, conditional, subjunctive, and past perfect verb tenses)
• Strategies to improve listening, speaking, reading and writing skills
• Storytelling skills
• Various projects using various forms of technology
French IV: Content-based instruction at this level focuses on college preparation strategies. Highlights include:
• 1 semester – History and Geography of France (including: excerpts from French literature; making predictions; discussion of cause and effect; semester term paper)
• Analyzing French poetry
• Intensive pronunciation practice
• Interspersed grammar review
• Selections from French theater
• Reading a novel
• Comparison of modern languages (transfer of language learning skills). Preferably co-taught with Spanish IV class.
French V (AP French): This Advanced Placement French Language class focuses on expanding grammar and vocabulary topics already learned in previous classes, and includes intensive practice in listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to prepare for the Advanced Placement Exam. The use of literature, film, music, and radio programs will enhance the overall theme of this class: the preservation of culture and impact of language on culture.
Honors Chorus and Band
• Option for Seniors only who are enrolled in Chamber Choir or Wind Ensemble
• Additional requirements, outside of class, challenge musicians to go beyond the repertoire and skills that are practiced in the daily Chamber Choir/Wind Ensemble rehearsals.
• Students will work independently on additional requirements, with assistance from the directors.
- 1st quarter: preparation of the IMEA All-State Audition material
- 2nd quarter: 5-8 page research paper on a relevant music topic chosen by the directors.
- 3rd quarter: preparation of a solo or ensemble piece to be performed at contest and/or at a public recital, at which the performer will also give a short lecture/PowerPoint presentation of the piece that will be performed.
- 4th quarter: 5-8 page research paper
• Over the course of the entire year, musicians will move independently through Music Theory and Ear Training lessons from an internet-based site and will demonstrate proficiency through periodic written and aural assessments.