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Middle School Honors/Accelerated Course Requirements

CORE (English-Language Arts & Social Studies)

HBCSD recognizes the importance of appropriate English Language Arts and Social Studies course placement for students during their middle school educational experience. This content is delivered in the double-block CORE course at the middle school level. To qualify for the Honors level of grade-level CORE classes, students must meet certain criteria that indicate high achievement, specifically in language arts and literacy. These courses include added rigor, including further vocabulary development and exposure to literature. Students who receive all 7 points based on the following criteria will receive the District recommendation for Honors CORE placement at their grade level:

CORE Assessment Score Points

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) - English Language Arts

Standard Exceeded


End of Year STAR Reading Score

80th percentile or higher


End of Year Language Arts Classroom Grade



End of Year Articulated Writing Prompt




Students will be adequately prepared for high school success with the completion of the Common Core-aligned Mathematics 6, 7, and 8 courses or with the Accelerated Pathway. These pathways, illustrated below, are in alignment with the California Department of Education Mathematics Framework (Appendix D).

Middle School Pathways chart

All sixth-grade students will be placed in the Mathematics 6 course; students will be grouped in sections to support teachers in determining the depth of content instruction to best meet student learning needs. Data analysis and teacher recommendation are used to place students, requiring all 6 points to be earned within a system of criteria for consideration on the Accelerated Pathway. The measures used are:

Mathematics Assessment Score Points

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) - Mathematics

Standard Exceeded


End of Year STAR Math Score

90th percentile or higher


End of Year Math Classroom Grade



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What pathways are available in middle school for CORE and Mathematics?

Students can be placed in an Honors CORE (History/Language Arts) in grades 6, 7, and 8. Accelerated Math is available in grade 7 and 8. All sixth graders are placed in the Mathematics 6 course.

How does the district determine course placement for the middle school?

Placement in these courses is contingent upon performance-based criteria. For CORE, these include: 1) the Smarter Balanced Assessment in English Language Arts, 2) a reading assessment, and 3) classroom reading grade. For Accelerated Mathematics, these include: 1) the Smarter Balanced Assessment in Mathematics, 2) a grade-level skills diagnostic, and 3) classroom teacher feedback.

What are each of these criteria?

  • The Smarter Balanced Assessment is the standards-aligned, grade-level assessment given by the State to determine student performance in ELA. It is administered in the Spring in two subjects: Mathematics and English Language Arts. 

  • Fifth, sixth, and seventh grade students will be using the Renaissance STAR Reading Test to determine their reading level. The reading level will be converted into a Lexile score, which helps educators determine the grade level where a student is reading. 

  • The classroom reading grade (or Language Arts grade in CORE) is reported by the classroom teacher at the end of the second semester (middle school) or third trimester (elementary school).

  • The grade-level skills diagnostic for mathematics is the Renaissance STAR Math Assessment. Teachers have determined specific skills students need to be successful in advanced mathematics and questions on the Renaissance STAR Math Assessment that are aligned to those skills will be analyzed for student performance.

  • The classroom teacher feedback for mathematics is a survey determining the readiness of students for the accelerated pathway and is based on observed behaviors that contribute to learning.

Who can I talk to if I have questions about any of this?

Please contact your site administration or Dr. Danielle Ramirez at the District Office at 714-378-2032.