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#246839  02/20/20 09:09 AM
Need guidance: math placement in middle school

Junior Member
Registered: 09/29/16
Posts: 6

I am new to advocating for my child and could use a little guidance. My daughter is currently a 5th grader in elementary school. She is not identified as gifted by the school systemI think GT identification starts in middle schoolbut she is in an advanced math class that covers both 5th and 6th grade material in one year. I recently discovered that there are a small number of students who are subject accelerated in math even further. They are studying mostly independently, sometimes with a teacher, and they are getting advanced 7th gr math material. My DD is not one of these highest group students, despite having consistently performed well in standardized testing, getting high A's in her coursework while finding it too easy, and having no behavioral or organizational issues. Some of her teachers have shared with us in the past that her MAPM and MAPR scores were the highest in her grade, and this year we were told that her MAPM score (272, 99%ile) is the highest in the school, including the highest accelerated group.
Given all this, I am a little confused as to why she was not selected for the highest accelerated group. I did not even know this group existed until recently, so it is too late in the school year for me to ask if she can join. My guess is that skipping was never suggested to us because she has not done any additional math course outside of school (such as CTY), because she is young for grade, or because I never advocated for her. But she finds the regular advanced math easy, and has gotten perfect scores on all her exams. She genuinely loves math and tells me she wishes she were a part of the group doing 7th grade math. However, she is not one to complain to the teacher that she is bored, and she seems happy enough with school in general, so for this year I think her situation is fine.
However, I don't want to make the mistake of not advocating for her in the future. I at least always want to know what the options are so we can make an informed decision. I asked her teacher about placement for next year, and he says his former students typically get prealgebra in 6th grade. However, a very small select group get pulled out for testing at the beginning of the year to see if they are ready for algebra. Instead of letting things be as I've done in the past, I'm thinking of approaching the middle school and making sure she gets tested.
My question for is, how do you know when a kid is algebra ready? Even if she passes whatever test they give her, and I suspect she might because she's always been good at test taking, I worry about putting her in above her head before she has a good foundation in place. It's been a long time since I did middle school math, so I have NO idea how the curriculum is set up, and whether finishing the combined 5th and 6th grade math course this year would be a good enough of a foundation for going straight into algebra. I don't want her to be bored and wishing she could do more, but I also don't want her to get a rushed education that isn't solid. Any thoughts from more experienced parents would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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#246869  02/25/20 07:14 PM
Re: Need guidance: math placement in middle school
[Re: Minor Third]

Member
Registered: 04/26/14
Posts: 4023

Welcome! You may find information such as the NWEA guidance on placement useful. For example: https://community.nwea.org/docs/DOC1486which lists the recommended minimum scores on the 6+ test from 2016 for placement into high school math courses. She may or may not have been tested on the 6+ test (or its 2019/20 equivalent) (given placement in grade 5, it may have been the 25 test, but given placement in a grade 5/6 math class, it may also have been the higherlevel test). Certainly, it would be reasonable to ask the district to assess her on the appropriate MAP math test for objective decisionmaking on math placement. With regard to preparation for algebra, if the school has a robust placement system, then that should address the appropriateness of her placement. In the school where I am employed, the observation has been that the students who struggle the most with algebra I are those who are not solid on their arithmetic, not really on prealgebra skills (which will be reviewed in the first month of algebra). E.g., skills with fractions, decimals, and arithmetic computations with negative numbers. Also, FWIW, some of us skipped over prealgebra into algebra (one of my children), and some others of us skipped over algebra I into algebra II (myself). So it is certainly possible to be successful in algebra I without a prealgebra course.
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#246872  02/26/20 05:49 AM
Re: Need guidance: math placement in middle school
[Re: aeh]

Junior Member
Registered: 09/29/16
Posts: 6

Thank you, aeh. It is very useful to know you can skip prealgebra and still do well in algebra. This is my main concern. The kids in the highest math group are learning prealgebra and because it's too late in the year to join that group, I worry she would not be algebra ready. I guess I'm pretty fuzzy on what exactly constitutes prealgebra so I'm going to look at a text book. She appears to be covering arithmetic topics in her 5/6 math course, such as long div, decimals, operations on fractions.

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#246874  02/26/20 11:32 AM
Re: Need guidance: math placement in middle school
[Re: Minor Third]

Junior Member
Registered: 09/29/16
Posts: 6

aeh,
One more question, since you work at a school, do you know if there's any correspondence between MAP 25 and MAP 6+? I do not know which test she was given but am assuming it was 25.

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#246878  02/27/20 01:26 PM
Re: Need guidance: math placement in middle school
[Re: Minor Third]

Junior Member
Registered: 08/28/18
Posts: 39

Looking back through my files, my kids had qualifying score for Algebra through MAP testing without IMHO the skill base. But they had those qualifying scores much earlier than normal.grades 5678 get compressed in various ways at various school. My daughter skipped fourth grade math and entered the accelerated track and got to 5th grade doing the 6th grade work and it was slow. She worked through both a prealgebra book and an algebra book and then took a self paced CTY class in prealgebra. She is still enrolled in math at school because I can’t be bothered to fight with them anymore. We are trying to change schools. She needed those foundational books to be able to work at the CTY level. She loves math but has never really had a rigorous teacher.
But she really loves the CTY. It is awesome. Fast rigorous. Easy for her to manage her time by being online.

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#246879  02/27/20 05:39 PM
Re: Need guidance: math placement in middle school
[Re: Minor Third]

Member
Registered: 04/27/13
Posts: 5188

I think GT identification starts in middle school... I at least always want to know what the options are so we can make an informed decision. Are you able to access your school and/or district website, to determine whether the policies may be found online? You may also find this crowdsourced list helpful... it is a roundup of advocacy tips from parents on this forum, over the years. You may also wish to read about student selfadvocacy and consider whether you believe the time may be right to help your child develop these skills and learn these approaches. how do you know when a kid is algebra ready The Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test (IAAT) used to be the tool for measuring whether a child is ready for algebra. Maybe it is still in use? The Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test is mentioned in this link on the Davidson Database: Tips for Parents: Parenting Mathematically Talented Students in 7th Grade and Younger... middle school math... how the curriculum is set up, and whether finishing the combined 5th and 6th grade math course this year would be a good enough of a foundation for going straight into algebra. This link to the Common Core Math Standards may be helpful; it shows the basic progression of skills: http://www.corestandards.org/Math/

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#246910  03/02/20 12:29 PM
Re: Need guidance: math placement in middle school
[Re: Minor Third]

Junior Member
Registered: 09/29/16
Posts: 6

Just wanted to thank everyone who responded with all the helpful suggestions and resources. It seems my posts are taking many days to appear after I submit them, so I'm not able to reply in a backandforth discussion, but I really appreciate the info so far.

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#247013  03/31/20 01:23 PM
Re: Need guidance: math placement in middle school
[Re: Minor Third]

Member
Registered: 04/26/14
Posts: 4023

Sorry about the delay.
MAP 25 has some concordance with 6+, but it lacks the higherlevel items (e.g., high school level math), which means that very high scores on the 25 typically see a small to moderate drop on retest with the 6+. In this case, scores in the upper 90s %iles are in the ceiling of the test, and, on the 25, likely have very high error bars compared with similar scores on the 6+. The 6+ retest would be expected to still find scores well above average, but possibly not in the upper 90s %iles.
_________________________
...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...

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#247015  04/02/20 04:16 PM
Re: Need guidance: math placement in middle school
[Re: Minor Third]

Junior Member
Registered: 01/07/20
Posts: 36
Loc: Los Angeles

Hello everyone ! My DS10 is in 4th grade at Carpenter. His teacher has a small group of 78 kids in the class, who do advanced math ( Algebra 1) And until some time I didn’t even know that my son is in this group! I mean, of course I knew that he is very advanced in math! But I didn’t know about this group in his class! It seems to me that it depends on the teacher and school! But he he still receives his grades for CC Math. only ! There is no grade for Algebra1 in 4th grade🤷♀️ Is there any chance to skip at least 5 grade math next year? Maybe we can ask the school to test him and to put him on a right level of math , the one that good for him ? How does it work in this situation? Please any recommendations !

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#247023  04/07/20 07:18 PM
Re: Need guidance: math placement in middle school
[Re: Yanaz]

Junior Member
Registered: 08/28/18
Posts: 39

LAUSD does not allow this type of true acceleration so the teacher is probably introducing the fun and accessible parts to keep bright kids interested. The absolute fastest they allow actual acceleration is to have a few district schools have Albebra I as sixth graders. And I think there are only three schools in the entire district who offer it. And most of the socalled math and stem schools don’t offer it. They have anmath pathway video that makes it clear. https://achieve.lausd.net/Page/11659If your child needs additional challenge I’d consider the honors math at CTY which contains a great deal of additional content than regular grade level work. For instance, my son is a great math student and in Algebrs I but had never seen some of the content in my younger daughter’s CTY prealgebra class. If he already in the gifted program? I assume so. In my experience neither district or charter schools will label/grade nonstandard classes.
Edited by JudAU (04/07/20 07:19 PM)

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