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In the fall of 1995, the Calvert County Public Schools embarked on a systemwide effort to identify the essential high school curriculum; that is, to determine what students should know and be able to do as a result of having successfully completed designated courses. To achieve this goal, a three-year timeline was developed. This timeline provided for the evolution of the "essential currriculum" in a systematic manner, starting with ninth and tenth grade courses in English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies during the 1995-96 school year and culminating in 1997-98 with the twelfth-grade component.
Teachers, students, parents, administrators, supervisors and community representatives worked collaboratively on this immense project. It represents an initial attempt to focus on the delivery of a required curriculum and is founded on the premise that an essential curriculum is taught and aligned with what is assessed. It is anticipated that this effort will parallel the State's endeavor to identify Core Learning Goals and to develop statewide assessments to measure mastery of those Core Learning Goals.
While the essential curriculum must be covered, it is not intended to serve as a comprehensive curriculum guide. Enrichment activities will continue to constitute an integral part of our instructional program.
The second phase of the initiative in each of the three years of the program involves the development of rigorous systemwide high school assessments to measure student success with respect to the essential curriculum. Consequently, standard end-of-year examinations will be developed and administred to all students enrolled in the targeted courses.
This program represents an effort to develop a high school assessment program designed to raise standards of student performance by establishing consistency within curricular areas and by increasing the rigor, substance and meaningfulness of assessments. The program must be assessed annually to ensure successful implementation.