The goal of Sakai math screening, placement and instruction is to ensure that all students are taught at a level that will provide a balance of challenge and success. For the majority of students, the placement that corresponds to grade level is the right level of challenge. With the Common Core Student Standards (CCSS), grade level curriculum provides both sufficient rigor and depth in mathematic concepts.
At the same time, we acknowledge that learners seldom fit into one, conveniently sized box. Students may show that they are ready for greater challenge at any time in the continuum. Sometimes that involves specific extensions or acceleration within grade level instruction; occasionally it means accelerating beyond grade level content, into the next grade level. In order to justify this, students must show that they both know and understand these Common Core Standards completely, and can essentially “skip” them.
To try and insure the above, Sakai and Woodward will determine which students can safely be assigned to those advanced placement classes:
Identification: Our math teachers, with the Associate Principal and Differentiation Specialist as facilitators, will identify students for further screening and consideration for placement in the following: Accelerated (6th grade) Math as 5th graders, 7th grade math as 6th graders and algebra as 7th graders. This recommendation (for the screening process, not the final placement) is premised on identified students having met at least three of the following standards, with data showing results beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. Current placement in an accelerated or enrichment group;
2. Identified Highly Capable in Math;
3. Consistently high-level class/homework performance; and
4. Adequate scoring on selected diagnostic (mastery) and fluency exams.
*The most recent Smarter Balanced exam may be referenced as a resource if needed, but will not be considered or weighted as a data point. The purpose of the SBAC is not as a diagnostic, but a summative assessment to reflect the mastery level of grade level concepts. It’s not designed to assess students at expanding grade level standards.**The final placement/mastery exam will provide the greatest weight for placement determination. Since students are being considered for possibly "skipping" an entire grade level of content, evidence of understanding and mastery is crucial to support this placement. It's understood that a student could meet criteria 1-3 above (and qualify for screening), but not perform strongly enough on the mastery exam to be placed in the advanced placement group--including students identified as Highly Capable.
Also, note that placement in Advanced Placement Math in no way guarantees placement in 7th grade math (as 6th graders). Students are expected to perform well throughout the year to warrant moving beyond 6th grade math completely (diagnostic testing will still take place in the spring). As well, while 7th grade math allows students to be pre-identified for algebra in 7thgrade, parents will want to monitor their child’s progress throughout the year to ensure readiness for algebra. If your student’s current performance in 7th grade math is currently falling short of Woodward’s algebra requirements, you will receive a letter to that effect by mid to late March.
Invitation to Screen: Identified 5th grade students’ families will receive screening invite letters in early May to test for 7th grade math placement. These identified students will include those already in Accelerated/6th grade Math, and those in 5th grade math (identified by teachers as showing consistently high performance, and having received an exemplary score on their end-of-year mastery test). Other 5th grade students’ families (the vast majority) will not be receiving separate letters.
Screening: Screening for algebra will be through a standardized algebra readiness test vetted by the Woodward and Sakai staffs which will be administered in mid to late May (Dates TBA). An additional computation test will also be required. Screening for 7th grade math for 6th graders will be through a readiness/mastery standardized test, plus a computation test, which will be administered late in the year, concurrently with Woodward's end of year screening. Following that, a final review of updated teacher recommendations will be completed.
Notification: Final decisions in regard to 2017-18 math placements will be made in early June. As part of that notification, the families of all students who participated in the 5th and 6th grade screening processes will be notified of those results.
Please understand that due to test integrity and validity, no re-assessments will be conducted. For all students, their information will be looked at closely during the placement process to ensure appropriate grouping for content / instructional differentiation. This includes, in particular, students who did not qualify for Accelerated placement but whose scores are “borderline.” Parents and students should understand that just because a placement is not made in an “Accelerated” group, acceleration can and will still happen when appropriate; students will be challenged in their respective placements and receive rigorous content. In addition, students placed at grade level may still screen into the following year’s accelerated grouping. This has happened on numerous occasions in the past.
Questions: If you have questions about the process contact Associate Principal Warren Read at email@example.com