8th Grade Core Curriculum


Most eighth grade students still need, and are therefore provided, two class periods each day to be successful in meeting the Virginia English SOL in reading and writing. English Literature 8 (981XY): This class provides instruction in vocabulary, reading comprehension, and literature, as well as in oral communication skills. English Writing 8 (9812Y): This class focuses on the three domains of writing (composing, written expression, and usage/ mechanics) to produce multi-paragraph narratives, descriptions, and explanations. This class also includes oral communication skills. English 8A (981AY): This advanced-level class is designed to meet the needs of eighth grade students with well-developed reading and writing skills. Vocabulary, literature, language, and writing instruction are taught in one class period, and thus instruction must move at a faster pace than in the two-period format. In addition, students in the advanced level class will have opportunities for wider reading and writing experiences than required by the eighth grade English Standards of Learning. In most cases students in this course have completed the English 7A course. However, some students may be recommended for this course based on achievement in the English Literature 7 and English Writing 7 courses, the seventh grade reading SOL test, Division-Wide Assessments in seventh grade English, and their achievement in reading as demonstrated on their seventh grade Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test. Reading Skills (985YY): This small-group reading intervention class is designed to help students reading two or more years below grade level accelerate their reading growth and become on-grade level readers. This class uses the research-based Soar to Success program, and students learn to apply and use comprehension and decoding skills. Students enrolled in this class are also enrolled in English Literature 8 and English Writing 8. Students are enrolled in this class based on information provided by seventh grade teachers on a referral form which includes data from the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test, a timed fluency test, and in some cases a phonics test.


Pre-Algebra (982XYB): All students who are not proficient or advanced on the end of the year Virginia Standards of Learning assessment in mathematics receive a double block of mathematics or 92 minutes of instruction daily. It is hoped that the additional time will allow math teachers to spend more time explaining the concepts, helping students with guided practice, facilitating independent work as well as cooperative learning. The time will also allow math teachers to focus on some of the best researched based strategies to increase student achievement. This course covers the eighth grade math SOL and includes content that reviews and extends the concepts and skills learned in previous grades and new content that prepares students for more abstract concepts in algebra. Students will identify real-life applications of mathematical principles and their application to science and to other disciplines. A wide range of skills and strategies will be developed in the following areas: number and number sense, computation and estimation, measurement, geometry, probability and statistics, patterns, functions, and algebra. Upon completion of this course students take the eighth grade math SOL test. Algebra I (2280A & B): High School Credit * Prerequisite: teacher recommendation and Advanced Pre-algebra. This regular one-year algebra program includes instruction in properties and basic operations of rational numbers, their algebraic and graphical representation, linear equations, inequalities and systems of linear equations and inequalities. The second semester includes the study of polynomials, radical equations, quadratic equations with real solutions, and the concept of functions. Upon completion of this course students take the Algebra I SOL test. (0.5 high school credits per semester) Advanced Algebra I (2397A & B): High School Credit * Prerequisite: teacher recommendation and Advanced Pre-Algebra. This course is weighted as a 4.5 quality point course in terms of Grade Point Average (GPA). This course includes instruction in greater depth than the traditional Algebra I course. Students attach meaning to the abstract concepts of algebra by using tables and graphs to interpret equations and inequalities and to analyze functions. Matrices are used to organize and manipulate data. Calculators, computers, spreadsheets, and graphing calculators or computer graphing simulators are used to assist in solving problems. Advanced algebra is the initial course in the sequence of courses designed for a five-year accelerated math program. Upon completion of this course students take the Algebra I SOL test. (0.5 high school credits per semester)

*Advanced Diploma, Math Standard Units of Credit Required (Year Courses) 4 (Four courses including one credit at the level of Algebra I and three credits from courses above the level of Algebra I. )


Principles of Science (983XY): This course enables students to compete an extended study of general, life, and physical science. The living world, matter, energy, and scientific experimentation are explored in depth. Students completing this course take the eighth grade science SOL test. Advanced Earth Science 8 A and B (3387A & B): High School Credit * Prerequisite: teacher recommendation and physical science. The major topics studied in this course are oceanography, meteorology, geology, and astronomy, each with accompanying laboratory activities. Students successfully completing this course take the earth science SOL test. (0.5 credit per semester)

*Advanced Diploma, Science Standard Units of Credit Required (Year Courses) 4 (Courses from at least three different science disciplines from among: earth sciences, biology, chemistry, or physics.)

Social Studies/History

Civics and Economics (984XY): This course covers the Constitutions of the United States and Virginia, as well as the structure and functions of government institutions at the national, state, and local levels. Students also study the basic principles, structure, and operation of the American economy. At the end of this course students take the civics/economics SOL test. Civics and Economics (Advanced) (984AY): This course covers the same SOL as the regular civics/economics course but moves at a faster pace to allow time for additional opportunities for enrichment of the curriculum. At the end of this course students take the civics/economics SOL test.

Physical Education, Family Life, & Health

The physical education, family life, and health curriculum in the eighth grade is provided as a full-year course. As in sixth and seventh grades, parents may complete an “opt-out” form and have their child receive alternate assignments in place of the family life education component of the health curriculum. This course emphasizes the further development of flexibility, agility, cardiovascular endurance, balance, coordination, time, and speed. Students continue to develop skills in physical coordination and movement through the performance of dance and gymnastics routines. The history of team, individual, and dual sports is introduced, and specific rules and knowledge of playing strategies are reinforced. Health units continue instruction on the effects of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. Personal wellness and good mental health are promoted through the study of healthy lifestyles. Emphasis is placed on safety at home, at school, and in the community. Family life units focus on the stages of human growth and development. Emphasis is placed on responsible behaviors in dealing with sexuality, and topics covered include sexual abstinence, coping skills, teen pregnancy, the prevention of sexual assault, and AIDS awareness and prevention.