With so many questions about the new trimesters, I wanted to share with you some information about what we are about to undertake. I also want you to have a place to ask questions if you don't have the time or opportunity to come and ask me yourself. I am posting the questions that were given to me by the Car Ramrod pack, along with my answers. If you have additional questions, please post them here. I'll try to answer as many as I can.
CAR RAMROD: How will trimesters affect student scores on mandatory tests such as ITED's and MAP tests?
MRS H: Studies have been conducted on the effect of trimester schedules on standardized testing. The results of these tests have been mixed. Some studies found that student scores increased; some found that they stayed the same; other found that scores decreased. There seem to be too many variables to determine how trimester schedules will effect standardized tests.
CAR RAMROD: Can students learn as well in a trimester schedule? (i.e. will they get sick of sitting for longer periods of time, can they take in a lesson and a half nd absorb that much information all at once)
MRS H: Most research has found that in trimester/block schedules, students' grade point averages tend to increase. However, some research found mixed results.
CAR RAMROD: Will the number of credits to graduate have to increase?
MRS H: Not at this time.
CAR RAMROD: How many trimesters of PE will we have to take?
MRS H: The Healthy Kids Act requires 120 minutes of activity per week. In addition to this, the state requires that "all physically able students shall be required to participate in the program for a minimum of one-eighth unit during each [trimester] they are enrolled." In order to comply with state requirements, each student who is physically able must have PE each trimester.
CAR RAMROD: Will we do away with study halls?
MRS H: No. However, a student will need to be in 4 classes plus PE to be considered a full-time student. In a 6-period day, this allows for only one study hall in addition to the study hall opposite PE.
CAR RAMROD: Will seniors still be able to graduate early?
MRS H: Yes. Seniros will have the opportunity to graduate early at the end of the 1st trimester in November or at the end of the 2nd trimester in February.
CAR RAMROD: What if I am scheduled for the first semester of a class in the 1st term and then not again until the 3rd term?
MRS H: Research shows that most of the loss of information occurs in a very short period of time and then plateaus. The other issue regarding retention deals with whether or not students have developed a deep level of understanding. Real learning is measured by a student's ability to both understand and apply what they have learned.
CAR RAMROD: Will we still have semester tests?
MRS H: Yes. We will have tri-tests which will be given the same weighting as semester tests.
CAR RAMROD: What if teachers don't change the way they teach, and we just end up with a study hall at the end of class?
MRS H: Teachers will also need to be trained to work with a trimester schedule. Teachers will need to be innovative to make the best use of their class time.