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, and 7th grade math as 6th 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 computation 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 mastery and computation assessments 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 content group--including students identified as Highly Capable.
Also, note that placement in the advanced cohort 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:
4th graders: Initial screening of 4th graders is typically scheduled to begin in early May, while the comprehensive mastery assessment will be given towards the end of May or early June (Exact dates will be provided as soon as established). All commuication around this will be provided through your child's current school, via information supplied by Sakai staff. Note that parents of students who have performed well on the screener will receive a letter seeking permission to administer the mastery assessment in order to collect more comprehensive data. Decisions regarding placement in an accelerated math class will be determined by a multi-disciplinary team shortly thereafter, with parent notification of said placement in mid-June.
5th graders: Identified 5th grade students’ families will receive screening invite letters to test for 7th grade math placement if their end-of-year mastery assessment (and yearlong performance) indicates a need to consider moving into this cohort. Those already in the 6th grade math grouping will not need to "re-qualify" to move on to 7th grade math. Other 5th grade students’ families (the vast majority) will not be receiving separate letters.
Further Screening for students moving on to Woodward: All 6th grade math students at Sakai will be assessed at the end of the school year to provide Woodward with data on incoming students. 6th grade math students will be given a 7th grade mastery and compuation screener, so WMS teachers might see what they already know about the curriculum they will learn the following year. Those students in the accelerated track (7th grade math) will be given an algebra readiness screener, with recommendations of pre-algebra, or algebra, provided to WMS teachers. Final determination of placement at Woodward rests with the WMS team.
Notification: Currently, final decisions in regard to 2019-20 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