Math Placement FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions – Math Acceleration 
 

What if my child was not identified for 2 years of acceleration moving from grade 5 to grade 6, will there be an opportunity for them to accelerate in other years?
Yes, student achievement will be monitored during 6th grade in course 1 and for those students who demonstrate readiness to consider acceleration, there is an opportunity to move into a compacted course 2/3 in 7th grade.  We will communicate with parents in the spring of 6th grade for those students we think are demonstrating achievement levels where that is a viable option.  This is an advantage of our new acceleration pathways.
 
 
Another option that exists, but is not preferred, would be for students to take both Geometry and Algebra 2 concurrently.  This would be possible with the new high school model that will include an 8 period schedule.  This will be a rotating 8 period block schedule, classes are approximately 85 minutes long and meet every other day.  We would hand schedule students who opted for this acceleration model giving them Geometry on one day and Algebra 2 on the other day.    
 
 
My child was not recommended for 2 year acceleration and I'm worried that he/she will be bored going into Course 1 in 6th grade.  What can we do so that doesn't happen?  
We implemented a new curriculum resource, Core Connections, that is better aligned to the Washington State Math Standards beginning in Fall 2016.  The rigor and depth of thinking expected from students is quite a bit higher in our new standards and the new resource is much better support for that than our previous Holt resource had been.  Students will be engaged in much richer math problems, real world connections frame each unit, and student's work on talking and thinking mathematically with the new curriculum.  .
 
 
What happens if my child is struggling and we want to "decelerate" from the 2 year or 1 year acceleration pathway?  
We hope this doesn't happen.  This is always a difficult situation and may be particularly difficult for students we have identified for acceleration, as struggling in class is likely a new experience.  In our acceleration pathways, a student could drop into a pathway course for one level less acceleration at the start of the next school year.  In relatively rare cases, we could have a student change courses during the school year.  
 
We try hard to get the acceleration level right at the start as any time students are struggling, changing courses is a final option, not the first option.   This is why it is so important for parents to consider what they see at home on the part of their child.  Is the student's achievement coming at a cost of many hours of homework and lots of support from parents or a tutor. If that is the case, acceleration probably isn't a good choice.       
 
 
What data informs the recommendation for math acceleration?  
Tahoma uses a large number of data points for the math acceleration recommendation.  Scores for each assessment are given a "matrix score value from +2 to -2" and those scores are added together to get an overall rank order matrix score.  Student overall scores are stacked from high to low and cuts are established based on a long history of monitoring student success in the 1 year and 2 year accelerated pathways.  
 
Assessments include:
State Math Assessments – 3rd grade math SBAC, 4th grade math SBAC, 5th grade math SBAC, 6th grade math 
SBAC   [consistent level 4 scores indicate possible acceleration, mid to high level 4 scores for double acceleration]

Unit Assessment Scores - Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, Unit 4, Unit 5, Unit 6, Unit 7, Unit 8  
[consistent scores above 90% indicate possible acceleration, 95% for double acceleration at grade 5]

Orleans Hanna Algebra Prognosis   [50 is the highest score, scores above 37 indicate possible acceleration]
 
In addition we use current year report card scores in math and current year math teacher recommendations to help inform our acceleration recommendations.
 

Is it necessary for my child to get to Calculus AB or Calculus BC to be competitive for a 4 year college or university?
No, while it is a great opportunity for our students to be able to earn college credit in math while in high school with both Calculus AB and Calculus BC this level of math is not a requirement to be competitive for entrance into colleges and universities. 
 
 
What is the range of scores for the Smarter Balanced Assessments so I can tell if my child was high or low in the particular level they are at?
sbac levels

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