What are the different levels of English offered at Independence?

A: English 1 (Grade 9 only), English 2 (Grades 10 and above), English 3 (Grades 11 and above), English 4 (Grade 12 only), Reading Improvement (Grade 9 only), Mass Media (Grade 12 only), Advanced Placement English Language and Composition (Grades 11 or 12), Advanced Placement English Literature & Composition (Grade 12 only)?

All courses are one-year classes. And all courses, with the exception of Mass Media, are college prep courses.


Which sections of English offer sheltered classes?

A: English 1, Composition and Literature, and Mass Media


Does Independence High School offer Honors or advanced placement classes?

A: Yes. Honors classes are available at both the freshmen and sophomore years. AP classes in Language and Literature are available at the junior and senior level. To find out more about AP classes, please visit AP Central, maintained by the College Board. (a new browser window will open)


Does Independence High School offer any support classes in English?

A: Yes. For freshmen students reading below grade level, we strongly encourage them to take the Read-180 Block. For students who have attempted but not passed the High School Exit Exam, we offer a CAHSEE Support class. Both of these classes provide the student with elective credit.

What are the core novels?

A: Students should expect to read a minimum of four to six novels (and plays) every year. The required readings at each grade level are:

English 1

  • Romeo & Juliet
  • To Kill a Mockingbird or
    The Good Earth

English 2

  • Lord of the Flies
  • Julius Caesar

English 3

  • The Scarlet Letter
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

English 4

  • Oedipus Rex
  • Hamlet or Macbeth

Additionally there are recommended readings at each level. For a complete book list, please visit the individual class pages.


How many essays will be assigned?

A: Although there will be numerous informal writings (including journals and homework assignments), students should expect to write a minimum of three formal essays each semester.


What are the class sizes at IHS?

A: Within the English Department, class sizes are 33:1 with the exception of freshman classes. All freshman classes are held at a 20:1 ratio.


What is CAHSEE?

State law, enacted in 1999, authorized the development of the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), which students in California public schools would have to pass to ear a high school diploma. Beginning with the 2005-2006 school year, all California public school students are required to pass the CAHSEE and meet all other state and local requirements to earn a high school diploma.

The purpose of the CAHSEE is to improve student achievement in high school and to help ensure that students who graduate from high school can demonstrate grade level competency in reading, writing, and mathematics.

One part of the CAHSEE addresses state English-language arts content standards through grade ten. This part of the exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions and a writing task, has a reading and decoding section and a writing section. The reading and decoding section covers vocabulary, informational reading, and literary reading. This section includes 50 percent literary texts and 50 percent informational texts. The writing section covers writing strategies, applications, and conventions. In addition to the multiple-choice questions, students are asked to write one essay on a specific topic or in response to a literary or informational passage.

The 2005-2006 dates for the CAHSEE are: November 1 & 2 (juniors and seniors only); February 7 & 8 (seniors only), March 21 & 22 (sophomores only); May 9 & 10 (make-up sessions)

For more information on the CAHSEE please visit the Educational Testing Service or the California Department of Education. (new browser windows will open).


What is the DWA?

A: The DWA is the District Writing Test. Every fall, this writing test is administered in both freshman and sophomore English classes. The entire staff then participates in a school-wide scoring session with all sophomore papers.