Posted by: Minor Third

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

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 system--I think GT identification starts in middle school--but 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 MAP-M and MAP-R scores were the highest in her grade, and this year we were told that her MAP-M 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 pre-algebra 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!

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 pre-algebra 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!