Greetings Superintendents, Curriculum Coordinators, Federal Programs Directors, Special Education Directors, Principals, and Secondary Counselors:
The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has received several questions with regards to the grade 12 Southern Region Educational Board (SREB) Ready and Essentials for College courses (both for math and literacy) related to the possibility of offering these courses through our Mississippi Online Course Application (MOCA) process, as well as licensure requirements, class size, and teacher course load. Below you will find guidance on each of these areas.
- MOCA Course Availability: After exploring options and discussing this topic with SREB staff, the MDE will not be making these courses available in an online format, due to the following considerations:
- Student enrollment in the SREB courses is determined by student performance on the English and Math sections of the ACT. Students enrolled in these courses have an ACT sub-score in the aforementioned areas that indicates the need for intense face-to-face interventions with a certified subject-area instructor.
- SREB course materials are designed to engage students in a collaborative work environment with their peers and their instructor. In the math courses, students are expected to complete several Formative Assessment Lessons (FALs) as a team as the teacher provides interim questions to develop students conceptual knowledge and higher-order thinking skills.
- State Board Policy Chapter 28, Rule 28.6 provides a formal agreement between the MDE and all eight public universities, such that students who complete one or both of the SREB Essentials courses with an 80 or above will not be required to take the corresponding remedial courses for College Algebra or English Composition I at any of the eight public Mississippi universities. The impact of not maintaining the integrity of these courses could jeopardize the acceptance of this course credit.
- SREB has discouraged online delivery of these courses, noting that a small-scale, trial implementation in another state did not prove successful.
- Licensure: In accordance to State Board Policy Chapter 28, Rule 28.6, all teachers that are assigned to teach either the grade 12 SREB Ready or Essentials for College courses must attend a 3-day SREB-certified training and hold a valid grades 7-12 license in math (154) or English (119), and the appropriate 900-level add-on endorsement (i.e., 929 for math; 930 for English).
- Class Size: While Process Standard 28.4 of the 2018 Mississippi Public Schools Accountability Standards requires that student teacher ratios should not exceed 33 to 1 in departmentalized academic core classes, districts must consider the design of these courses when scheduling students. The MDE recommends that districts schedule these courses with smaller classes, given the need for individual support to improve the likelihood of student success.
- Teacher Course Load: Pursuant to Process Standard 25 of the 2018 Mississippi Public Schools Accountability Standards, individual teachers in grades 9-12 are limited to three (3) course preparations per scheduling cycle or five (5) in the same subject/content area. Given the course content and teacher certification for the grade 12 SREB Ready and Essentials for College courses are identical, these courses may be considered as one course preparation in math or English.
Additionally, the MDE strongly recommends that the SREB Ready and Essentials courses for either math or literacy be taught separately; however, should the courses be taught during the same class block due to extenuating circumstances, instructional delivery must be differentiated to meet the needs of the two student populations being served during the class block (i.e., with regards to their ACT sub-score performance) as included in State Board Policy Chapter 28, Rule 28.6).
Again, these courses are best taught separately in a face-to-face format, such that instructional delivery may be adequately differentiated to meet the needs of the two student populations being served during this class block (i.e., with regards to their ACT sub-score performance.), and that course integrity is maintained.
If you have any questions regarding this information please contact either Jean Massey, Executive Director, Office of Secondary Education and Career and Technical Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Marla Davis, Bureau Director, Secondary Education, at email@example.com.
Kim S. Benton, Ed. D.
Chief Academic Officer
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P.O. Box 771 | Jackson, MS | 39205-0771
Tel (601) 359-3077 |