Math Placement

Parent Information on Math Placement for Students Going into 6th Grade

Tahoma secondary students have the ability to remain on-grade in math or to accelerate one, or even two years, in math.  Three options for progression through our secondary math courses are shown below:   
acceleration pathways

For our Discovery students (highly capable students identified and served in a pull out program in elementary) there are two variations on the sequence shown above.   
discovery acceleration pathways

Acceleration Background

The Washington State math standards are rigorous and require a deeper understanding of math at earlier grade levels.  In our previous methodology of acceleration, students skipped entire grade levels of math.  Now, the recommendation is for curriculum compacting.  With curriculum compacting students don’t miss key math content, and we take advantage of our accelerated learners ability to be successful with a faster pace of learning and less topic review. 

Students who consistently demonstrate high level work may be good candidates for 1 year of acceleration.  In our new model this acceleration happens in the 7th grade.  For a very small number of students the option to further accelerate is possible.  Double acceleration allows the student to take Calculus AB in their junior year (a college-level course) and Calculus BC in their senior year (a sophomore level college course.)  This is a very demanding sequence of courses.  
 
It is critical that parents carefully consider the acceleration recommendation made by the district.  Parents have good insights into what level of independence students show at home on homework and have a picture of other activities that will need to be balanced in their child’s life.  Parents should consider whether their child has a passion and innate ability for math. The question isn’t “Can they do the work next year?”  As students move through the sequence, the demands increase significantly.  We find Algebra 2 is often a difficult step for many students, and time demands in the junior and senior year of high school are often quite high.  Students must ask themselves if they want to be taking college level math courses that are rigorous, theoretical, and have a heavy work load while they are trying to balance activities and other advanced classes. If students don't complete the sequence to at least Calculus they would be sitting out of math, possibly their last two years of high school, which is NOT a preferred option as they step into college or further education.    

Students who have not met standard on the state exams will receive additional support and interventions as appropriate.  There are a variety of options for students who may be struggling in math that are not reflected in the options above.  
 

Data for Acceleration Recommendations
• Gr 3, 4 and 5 state math assessments  (Smarter Balanced Assessment) 
         Students being recommended for acceleration must have consistent level 4 scores 
• Gr 5 unit math assessments across the year
         Consistent scores above 90% indicate possible acceleration
• Orleans Hanna Algebra Prognosis test  
• Gr 5 Math Teacher recommendation
        Teachers are asked to consider the following as they think about making recommendations for student acceleration.  
Work ethic
Abstract reasoning
Persistence
Metacognition
Math enjoyment
• Data from grade 6 Math Course 1 as well as the 6th grade state math testing will also be factored in for students being recommended for 1 year of acceleration, which happens in grade 7. 

 

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