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Course access means a broad course of study in required subject areas is offered for all students. This includes math, social science, science, visual and performing arts, health, physical education, career and technical education and others, regardless of what school students attend or where they live. When schools provide wide access to many different classes, students receive a full learning experience, are more likely to graduate, and are better prepared for higher education, employment and their roles and responsibilities as adults later in life.
Some ways schools can measure course access include assessing:
- The number of students enrolled in a broad course of study that includes core subject areas.
- The number of programs and services in core subject areas developed and provided for students with greater needs such as low-income students, English Language Learners and foster youth.
- The number of students enrolled in all required courses for admittance to a four-year college.
Key questions to ask about course access:
- What classes are currently being offered to our students? Do we provide a broad course of study to all students to ensure student success?
- How well are students across all student groups doing in general and in the core academic subjects? Do we offer multilingual academic support for our students?
- How will we know if the school district is meeting the goal of all students taking a full range of courses? What kind of measurements would make sense? Are there other forms of measurement we can try?
- What courses are available to better prepare students for 21st century careers and for the roles and responsibilities of civic engagement? How do we partner with local colleges and universities as well as other community partners to provide pathways for students?
- What strategies do we have in place to inform and engage parents in course selection, career pathways and college planning for their student? Do parents have regular opportunities to discuss what their child is learning with teachers and how they can best support student learning at home?
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