Placement Decisions for Mathematics

It is the goal of the Hillsborough Township Public Schools to provide learning activities in mathematics that optimize student learning while creating critical thinkers and problem solvers.  We strive to focus on learning while engaging students in mathematical conversations that promote thinking and conceptual understanding.  This process will be different for every student and it is imperative that students have these learning experiences at the optimal time for lifelong use.  The placement decisions made by the district play a critical role in this process.  


Our expectation is that students will do their very best work every day and as we focus on student learning in mathematics, student achievement will continue to improve. Our focus is on learning rather than grades.  Consequently, not all students who achieve high grades will qualify for all mathematics courses.  Placements for the next year are done before all data for the current year is available.  The exact time of placement varies depending on the current grade of the students.   Consequently, parents may request a placement review at the end of the year after all data for the year is available.  If the additional data changes the placement, student placements will be adjusted.  Students who do not meet the criteria for a particular placement will not be placed in that course.  Please contact the mathematics teacher for specific feedback about the progress of your child.  


Grades 2 - 5 ASI


The only placement distinction for students in grades two through five are for Academic Support Instruction (ASI).  At the elementary level, ASI participation is determined at the district level utilizing unit assessment total scores, open-constructed response average scores, cumulative assessment totals and the mid-year assessment score.  The most at-risk students across the district are identified for targeted and intensive instruction.  In the elementary schools, this instruction is fluid and occurs both in the regular classroom and occasionally in small group settings.  In grade 5 at Auten Road, ASI services are provided in a small group setting.  


Grades 6 - 8


Moving from grade 5 to grade 6, the following data points are placed on a matrix for placements decisions:  unit test scores, open constructed response scores, challenge assessment scores, mid-year assessment score, PARCC 4 math score and teacher recommendation are used for placement decisions.  Depending upon the level of achievement and points on the matrix, students will qualify for and be placed in either Math 6 ASI, Math 6, or Math 6 Advanced.  As mentioned previously, students who do not meet the criteria for a particular placement will not be placed in that course.


Moving from grade 6 to grade 7, the following data points are placed on a matrix for placement decisions:  unit test scores, mid-year assessment, PARCC 5 math score, constructed response/challenge questions and teacher recommendation.  Those students in Math 6 ASI and Math 6 will be screened for placement in Math 7 ASI, Math 7 or Math 7 Advanced.  Only those students currently enrolled in Math 6 Advanced will be given the Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test (IAAT) in late January or early February.  The IAAT will be used as an additional data point on the matrix to screen Math 6 Advanced students for placement in algebra 1 in grade 7.  A very small number of students will be ready for the abstraction of starting the high school mathematics sequence in grade 7.   As mentioned previously, students who do not meet the criteria for a particular placement will not be placed in that course.   No placement exceptions will be made.


Moving from grade 7 to grade 8,  the following data points are placed on a matrix for placement decisions:  unit test scores, mid-year assessment, PARCC 6 math score and teacher recommendation.  Those students currently enrolled in Math 7 and Math 7 Advanced will be given the Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test (IAAT) in late January or early February.  The IAAT will be used as an additional data point to screen Math 7 and Math 7 Advanced students for placement in algebra 1 in grade 8.   Those students taking algebra 1 in grade 7 will take geometry in grade 8 unless otherwise discussed with parents in advance.  Because of the importance and implications of beginning the high school mathematics sequence in the middle school, absolutely no placement exceptions will be made.


Moving from grade 8 to grade 9, those students taking Math 8 ASI, Math 8 or those students not completing algebra 1 with a minimum cumulative score of 75% at the end of the year, will take algebra 1.  A select number of Math 8 ASI students will be placed in a double period of algebra 1 in grade 9.  This double period allows for algebra instruction as well as targeted instruction on skills needed by each student to succeed in future math courses.  This placement cannot be waived.  Students completing algebra 1 in grade 8 with a final score of 75% or better will be screened for placement in either Geometry CP or Geometry Honors.  Unit test scores, mid-term scores, PARCC 7 math scores and teacher recommendations are placed on a matrix to determine the geometry placement.  Students who successfully complete geometry will be placed in Algebra 2 CP or Honors.  No student will be placed in a course for which they did not qualify.


Once students enter Hillsborough High School, placements are subject to the information in the Program of Studies which can be found on the High School webpage under Guidance.  In addition, the Program of Studies is given to students in grade 8 as they begin the scheduling process for grade 9.


Special note on the teacher recommendation for students in grades 4 through grade 8:  Teacher recommendations are gathered at a certain point in the year.  The mathematics specialists at ARIS and HMS work with and meet with teachers to discuss these decisions to be sure that no mistakes or oversights have been made.  Once placements are completed, teacher recommendations will not be revisited and cannot be changed.  This protects the integrity of the recommendations as part of the placement process.


Disclaimer:  It is possible that the data available to use for placement purposes will change based on requirements received from the state or other seen or unforeseen circumstances.   Further, the district reserves the right to adjust placement criteria as necessary at any time.
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