- Scottsdale Unified School District
- High School
High School Curriculum
Curriculum Resources and Textbooks
Curriculum and Textbooks
All content areas in SUSD teach the Arizona State Standards specific to each grade level and course. For more information on the Arizona Department of Education Academic State Standards, please visit the Arizona Department of Education website at: www.azed.gov. Click on the brochures, below, to learn what SUSD students are expected to master at each grade level.
SUSD Textbooks and Instructional Materials
Click on the links below to learn of District adopted instructional materials in all areas:
English Language Arts
ELA High School Supplemental Book List
Grading Practices & Report Cards
Grading Practices and Report Cards
As we deliver a world-class education, the Scottsdale Unified School District has implemented grading practices designed to promote the highest level of academic achievement and personal growth for our students. These guidelines were created by a committee of teachers, administrators, parents and high school students who met monthly to study research and best practices. These practices were initially approved by the SUSD Governing Board in April, 2013 and revisions were approved in April, 2014. All documents in the Backpack reflect these revisions. Click on the links below to learn more about the guidelines at this level:
High School Grading Guidelines
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are we changing our grading practices?
How will the new grading practices prepare high school students for college and career?
Why are work habits and conduct not included in students’ academic grades?
How does the conduct grade impact honor roll?
Report cards will be determined by the following assignment categories: Checks for Understanding, Assessments and Final Exam. What is the difference between “checks for understanding” and “assessments” and what are examples of types of assignments I can expect to see for each category?
What is the value, or weight, given to the different assignment categories for each course?
Why are “assessments” heavily weighted in the calculation of a grade?
Will homework be graded?
Are students going to be allowed to turn in late work without penalty?
Are students going to be allowed to redo graded work to increase their grade?
Why is extra credit no longer accepted in high school?
How do I access information about my student’s grades?
Q. Why are we changing our grading practices?
A. SUSD fosters a culture of learning for all to be successful in college and career. In order to support rigorous learning expectations, SUSD has established grading policies and practices that reduce variability amongst classes and schools while supporting all students in their mastery of academic standards. Our vision for the new grading practices is to promote and ensure fair, consistent and equitable practices across SUSD.
Q. How will the new grading practices prepare high school students for college and career?
A. Today, more than ever, a world-class education is a prerequisite for success. Consequently, we work to ensure that every student graduates from high school well prepared for college and/or a career. In order to accomplish this, we have greatly increased accountability for all students by raising standards, developing innovative teaching practices, and implementing better assessments and grading practices. Our teachers have undergone rigorous professional development on writing viable assessments.
Q. Why are work habits and conduct not included in students’ academic grades?
A. SUSD recognizes that the purpose of grades is to measure academic achievement of academic standards. Ultimately, grades should provide feedback to improve academic performance. Therefore, academic grades should not be used for communicating work habits or conduct. When grades are true reflections of mastery of academic content, report card grades will be more consistent with student performance on standards-based assessments (i.e. District benchmarks, state assessments).
Conduct grades will be included on student report cards and indicated by a conduct code. Conduct codes are based on student behaviors. Indicators for conduct are reflected in the O, S, N, and U scale on the SUSD report card. Teachers are to provide a Conduct code of O, S, N or U for each student at each quarter. Indicators of N and U will be accompanied by specific comments.
Indicators for conduct include:
O – Outstanding
S – Satisfactory
N – Needs Improvement
U – Unsatisfactory
Q. How does the conduct grade impact honor roll?A. Academic grades and conduct grades are both indicators to determine honor roll. To qualify for honor roll, students must earn at least a 3.5 grade point average with no conduct marks of “U” and no more than one “N.” See SUSD Policy IKD, Recognition for Scholastic Achievement, for more information.
Q. Report cards will be determined by the following assignment categories: Checks for Understanding, Assessments and Final Exam. What is the difference between “checks for understanding” and “assessments” and what are examples of types of assignments I can expect to see for each category?
A. Academic grades recorded on report cards represent a balance of a student’s work, and reflect the student’s learning and progress over time. Academic grades are determined by the following values:
Assessments will account for a minimum of 70% of the total grade. Assessments may include exams, quizzes, performance tasks, portfolios, presentations, projects, essays, and other demonstrations of learning determined by the teacher to assess mastery of learning. The purpose of an assessment is to measure what students know at the end of a learning cycle.
Checks for Understanding will account for no more than 30% of the total grade. This category represents coursework that is a check for understanding which may include bell work, worksheets, quizzes, and other checks for understanding determined by the teacher. The purpose of a check for understanding is to measure student progress during a learning cycle.
Q. What is the value, or weight, given to the different assignment categories for each course?
A. Semester grades are to be determined by a running point total throughout the semester and a final examination. Weightings of final exams, assessment and checks for understanding may vary among high school and content areas as determined by sites, but must be consistent among all teachers of the same course at individual schools.
Students will receive a grade report at the end of each grading quarter to indicate their progress at that time, however it is the semester grade that will be included in students’ transcripts.
Please refer to teacher/course syllabi for details about how course grades are calculated.
Q. Why are “assessments” heavily weighted in the calculation of a grade?
A. Applying heavier weight to assessments places importance on instructional concepts and learning goals. It is important to note that the term “assessment,” as an assignment category for students’ grades, does not refer only to exams. The term refers to various types of assessments (i.e. exams, quizzes, projects, essays, presentations, portfolios, performance tasks) determined appropriate by the teacher to measure what students know at the end of a learning cycle. “Checks for understanding” is a category for items that provide information to the teacher and student about their skills while the learning cycle is in progress. This type of evidence, while important, is not a final measure of the student’s mastery and so it is not given as much weight in the final grade. This practice aligns with the true purpose of grades, which is to communicate a student’s achievement of academic standards.
Q. Will homework be graded?
A. Coursework, including homework, will be considered either an assessment or a check for understanding and will be scored accordingly. Coursework is a term used to refer to any work related to a course that serves as preparation, practice or extension of learning activities. Some of this work may be assigned to students to be completed at home (homework). Coursework is considered meaningful and aligned to instructional objectives and/or content standards. Please refer to teacher/course syllabi for details about how coursework is weighted in the calculation of the grade.
Q. Are students going to be allowed to turn in late work without penalty?
A. Individual departments within high schools will designate and communicate respectful timelines, guidelines and support systems for late work policies for checks for understanding and assessments with consistency among all teachers of the same course at individual schools.
Penalties for late work will be fixed and will not exceed one letter grade of the original value of the scored item and will not change a passing grade to a failing grade. Assignments not completed will be indicated as not submitted (NS) in the grade book. “NS” designations are calculated as zeros.
Q. Are students going to be allowed to redo graded work to increase their grade?
A. It depends on the course/teacher. Some teachers have had redo/retake guidelines in practice for years. However, SUSD does not currently have mandatory redo/retake guidelines, as this is dependent upon teacher discretion.
Teachers are encouraged to create a process for second chance opportunities to measure mastery of learning.
Best practice research indicates that when a teacher offers a reassessment, all students should be reassessed if they meet the following criteria: completion of original task/assessment, completion of required assignments, and completion of reteaching/relearning activities as determined by the teacher.
Additionally, reassessment opportunities should be communicated by the teacher before the original assessment and teachers are to communicate course specific procedures in writing to parents and students at the beginning of each semester/year.
Students are expected to contact teacher to schedule reassessment opportunities.
Please consult each teacher’s course syllabus for more information.
Q. Why is extra credit no longer accepted in high school?
A. Best practice research indicates that awarding extra credit should be avoided because it skews the meaning of a student’s grade by rewarding them for extra effort as opposed to achieving mastery. Grades will be determined by coursework assigned by the teacher to all students to demonstrate mastery of learning standards. In lieu of extra credit, SUSD encourages teachers to create a process that allows students to redo/retake high impact assessments.
Q. How do I access information about my student’s grades?
A. Parents may access information about their student’s grades and course assignments by logging into their ParentVUE account. To access ParentVUE, go to: SUSD website > “Parents” tab > “ParentVUE access”.
ParentVUE access codes are available at schools. Please contact your school to receive your code if you do not already have one. The codes do not change year to year, so if you had a code last year, it will be valid this year as well.
High School Human Growth and Development
Naviance - Supporting College and Career readiness
SUSD provides a great planning tool called Naviance for your middle level student. Naviance is a college and career planning resource for students beginning in the 6th grade to help them plan their educational path, including their Educational Career and Action Plan (ECAP). While using Naviance, students can complete inventories that will help define their strengths and interests. Within Naviance, your student will begin to participate in activities such as Goal Setting, Career Exploration, Course Planning, and High School Readiness.
Naviance provides comprehensive tools that your child can use with their school counselor to help them make plans about courses, colleges and careers. Students will continue to utilize the program through high school. Naviance features allow you and your child to:
- Get involved in the planning and advising process – Build a resume, complete online surveys, and manage timelines and deadlines for making decisions about colleges and careers
- Research colleges – Compare GPA, standardized test scores, and other statistics to actual historical data from our school for students who have applied and been admitted in the past
- Research careers – Research hundreds of careers and career clusters, and take career assessments like the Do What You Are® test
- Create plans for the future – Build course plans, create goals and action plans, and complete tasks assigned to you by the school to better prepare yourself for your future college and career goals
Naviance can be used to share information with you and your child about upcoming meetings and events, local scholarship opportunities and other resources for college and career information.
For more information on Naviance, please click on link http://www.naviance.com/.
We hope you find this opportunity for your student helpful as we work together on your student’s academic and social growth. Feel free to contact your school’s counselor if you have any questions.
Family Connection Parent Guide
Family Connection Student Guide
Continuing this 2017-18 school year, all teacher classroom pages can be found in ParentVUE/StudentVUE. Information such as classroom updates, information on assignments, grades, attendance and demographic information can be found in this convenient application. If you don’t already have a ParentVUE account, please contact your school office to find out how to obtain one.
ParentVUE and StudentVUE Guide
ParentVUE Guide to Teacher Pages
ParentVUE Quick Reference Card
Please refer to the high school website for specific Summer Reading lists and expectations for all incoming 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders.
Student Accounts in Scottsdale USD
Parent Technology Guide for SUSD
ParentVUE/StudentVUE (Grades) Getting Started Guide
Class Website Information for Parents
Discovery Education Streaming
Bring your Own Technology
There is no specific device that is required or recommended. If you choose to buy your student a device, please shop within your financial comfort level. Ideally, the device should be able to connect to Wi-Fi, have an Internet browser, digital camera, calendar and access to e-mail. A data plan is not necessary. The device is not meant to take the place of a computer for word processing or accessing District resources such as SuccessMaker or other programs that require a Flash player. Campus computers are available for those purposes. The following chart demonstrates the capabilities of 3 popular operating systems for mobile devices: Android, Windows, and Apple iOS. There are many devices that operate on these systems; SUSD does not endorse any device or operating system.
Bring Your Own Technology FAQ
BYOT Responsible Use