The Honors Science Program at Hopkins
Whether your child enrolls in Honors Science or the regular science classes, he or she has an opportunity for a fine science education. Both honors and non-honors classes offer students many labs and other hands-on science opportunities. Below are several questions about the Honors Science program at Hopkins. If you have questions that have not been answered on this page, you may contact me at "firstname.lastname@example.org".
What are the major differences in the honors level and the regular level of science?
a. The seventh grade honors course is enriched and accelerated. Life Science is the focus of the curriculum for both honors and non-honors students. Students in seventh grade honors read about 2 times as much material each week as non-honors students. However their assignments do not take much longer than those for non-honors students. They also complete labs and investigations that go into greater depth on science topics. Non-honors courses spend more time on each topic in an effort to help each student understand the material more completely.
b. The eighth grade honors course is highly accelerated and enriched. Students taking this class will complete the 9th Grade Integrated Science course. Integrated Science includes topics in both physical science and earth science. Students completing this course need to be excellent readers, highly motivated, and "good critical thinkers". The textbooks for the College Prep 8th grade science is different from the Integrated Science textbook for honors. Students taking honors science in 8th grade typically read twice as much each week and have more extensive labs and other assignments.
If my child does not take honors science, will that adversely affect his/her future admissions to a good university?
There is a myth out there that suggests only students who take the honors track will be qualified to get into major universities. This is not true! There are hundreds of Mission graduates that did not take Honors Science courses, who have been accepted to excellent universities. It is far more important that students participate in a level of science where they can be successful. Honors Science does not meet the needs of every student. In fact, students who are enrolled in honors science that do not have the reading or math skills necessary to be successful often learn to hate science. Students in honors science should be highly motivated AND have excellent math skills AND excellent reading skills AND good critical thinking skills. Both the honors and non-honors science classes meet the requirements for college admission. It is more important that your child do well at whatever science level he or she is enrolled in. In fact, a student who performs poorly at the accelerated or AP level of science in high school may actually damage their college future rather than enhance it.
May my child skip honors science at Hopkins and later enroll in the accelerated science program at Mission?
Students who wish to enroll in honors science at Mission are expected to complete the honors science courses at Hopkins. The Science Department at Hopkins makes every effort to properly place students, so that they will be successful.
May my child start honors science in 8th grade, rather than starting in 7th grade?
THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED! A few students who are doing outstanding work in the non-honors level, may be moved during the year and a few more at the end of the year, but most students that complete the honors science sequence start in 7th grade. Every effort will be made to properly place your child in the correct science level.
How do I know whether my child is would be successful at the honors level of science?
There are no absolute predictors, but here are a few guidelines. First, your child should be outstanding in his or her reading level with reading proficiency scores in the advanced range. Second, your child should be outstanding in his or her math level with proficiency scores in the advanced range. Third, your child should be an excellent problem solver and critical thinker. Students who are great at memorizing, but poor in their critical thinking skills often have difficulty in honors science. Fourth, your child should be conscientious about completing both routine and major assignments. Fifth, your child should be academically mature, i.e. he/she takes responsibility for his/her own learning. Often students who are a year or more younger than their classmates have difficulty in honors science.
If my child is going to take honors science, should he/she be also take honors math and honors English?
All students taking honors science should also be enrolled in honors math. Less than 1% of the accelerated chemistry students at Mission are not taking honors math. If students are not in honors math, they will have serious difficulty with 10th Grade Honors Chemistry. Many students also take Honors English. However this is not required.
What are the requirements to enroll in honors science?
In order to enroll in honors science at Hopkins students must meet one of the following requirements.
1) A student must be GATE identified by standardized District IQ testing which is generally done in 3rd grade.
2) An incoming 7th grade student must have an "advanced" score on the math AND the ELA portions of the 5th or 6th grade STAR test and have a 6th grade science grade of an A or a B.
3) A 7th grade student who is not already enrolled in honors science and who is not GATE identified may enroll in 8th grade honors science if he/she has an "advanced" score on BOTH the ELA and math portions of the STAR 7th grade STAR test AND a B or better grade in 7th grade science.
My child is GATE identified in math, but is not GATE identified in English and does not have a 481 or higher score on the science portion of the STAR test. Why can't he/she enter honors science?
One of the best predictors of a student's success is his reading score on the reading portion of the STAR test. The majority of students who are not excellent readers have significant difficulties in honors science.
How can I enroll my child in Honors Science?
If your child is GATE identified in math AND reading OR GATE identified by District IQ testing, he/she will be enrolled in 7th grade Honors Science upon your request. If your child is NOT GATE identified, but has an "advanced" score on the math AND English portion of the STAR test he/she will be enrolled upon your request. Hopkins no longer administers a science placement test for incoming 7th graders. Students who do not meet these requirements will not be enrolled.