Earning Credit in the Competency Era….

With the implementation of Course Competencies, the pathway to course credit is slightly altered. Courses at Alvirne High School now have identified Course Competency Areas. For example, an English courses may have identified the Competency Areas of Reading, Writing, Literature, Speaking, and Viewing/Listening. These areas represent the major content topics that will be investigated and practiced in this particular course.

All assessments in this course will be categorized by one of these competencies. Students will still be taking tests and quizzes, completing writing assignments and projects, and will be expected to do homework. The only change is that the categorical averages that typically determine the final course average (Quizzes, Tests, Homework…) have been replaced by content categories. In this English course, a student’s final grade will be calculated by the work they have completed in the Competency Areas (Reading, Writing, Literature, Speaking, and Viewing/Listening).


Students must have a passing average (60% or above) in each identified competency area in a course to earn credit. After the 2008-2009 school year, as a staff, we collected data on how this change will potentially affect our students. To summarize the results, the change did not affect the awarding of credit for most students. That being stated, all students are going to have to keep a vigilant eye on their competency averages. This change has placed an increased emphasis on the content of each course and leaves less wiggle room for students who often find him or herself on the edge.

AHS Supports for Students…

Our goal is for all students to find academic success at AHS; to that end we have academic supports in place. The Academic Support Center is a great venue for students to work beyond the normal classroom hours with a content specialist. Three days a week on a rotating basis, teachers from the English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language departments are available in the Library from 2:15 to 3:15 for extra help.

Through regular Edline updates and class syllabi, students and parents will be kept up to date on student progress in each course.

It is important that when examining Edline updates, students and parents alike look not only at the current average, but also look at the cumulative competency averages, as these are the ultimate determinants of credit. Teachers will keep students informed in their classes as to how they are progressing. Teachers may also recommend students to the Academic Support Center for added support in particular classes.

The Focus is the Content…

Competencies elevate the focus on all the content of a course. Students must demonstrate a basic understanding in ALL identified competency areas in a subject. The overall average of the “body of work” in each competency area (homework, quizzes, tests, writing assignments, projects, SMAs…) will determine each area’s average. Within each category, certain assignments will weigh heavier (SMAs are worth more points than homework for example). It is important to realize that to pass a competency area, the average of all the assignments in that area must be at a 60% or higher.

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