Placement Process

At District 27, we make placement decisions with great care, based on achievement on standardized assessments and teacher feedback regarding classroom performance. We are committed to thoughtful and appropriate placement decisions for all students in order to create the best learning experience for every child. After making placement decisions for years and reviewing historical data, we recognize that a data-driven process is essential for making appropriate placement decisions to maximize success for each student. The following steps outline the processes and criteria for placement in our various math courses. 

Step 1: Create and Review Matrix of Data

As a data-driven process, we use a matrix to inform math placement decisions. The matrix criteria are reviewed and refined annually by the principals, Math/Science Coordinator, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. We use the following data points within our matrices: 

  • Terra Nova Mathematics score – test administered after Thanksgiving break.

  • Terra Nova Math Computation score – test administered after Thanksgiving break Terra Nova/InView CSI score – test administered after Thanksgiving break .

  • STAR Math Scores – tests administered in September, January, and May .

As we review student data, please be assured that every data point for every student is examined. If we notice highly questionable or discrepant data, we review data from previous years and consult with the teacher(s) regarding the test scores. 

Lastly, although PARCC is not formally part of our matrices, we review PARCC math scores in light of math placement decisions.

Step 2: Apply Placement Criteria to Matrix of Data

Grades 3 - 5 Math Extensions:

The Math Extensions Program is designed to serve students generally performing within the top 15 to 20% of the cohort on at least three of the five assessments listed below. At grade 5, the program serves students within the top 20% of the grade level who are not placed in Honors Math. Please be aware that the top 15% or 20% is not the same as the national percentile on the various standardized assessment reports. For the 2018-19 school year, the following criteria were used. To qualify, we look for students who had three or more scores meeting the benchmarks. 

  • Grade 3

    • Terra Nova Mathematics - Scale Score of 621.
    • Terra Nova Math Computation - Scale Score of 580.
    • Terra Nova/InView CSI  - Score of 124 or higher.
    • STAR Math - Only one STAR score may count towards the minimum of three scores.
      • Spring -  Score of 661 or higher.
      • Fall - Score of 662 or higher.

  • Grade 4

    • Terra Nova Mathematics - Scale Score of 648.
    • Terra Nova Math Computation - Scale Score of 636.
    • Terra Nova/InView CSI - Score of 124 or higher.
    • STAR Math - Only one STAR score may count towards the minimum of three scores.
      • Spring -  Score of 723 or higher.
      • Fall - Score of 744 or higher.

  • Grade 5

    • Terra Nova Mathematics - Scale Score of 675.
    • Terra Nova Math Computation - Scale Score of 661.
    • Terra Nova/InView CSI - Score of 124 or higher.
    • STAR Math - Only one STAR score may count towards the minimum of three scores.
      • Spring -  Score of 821 or higher.
      • Fall - Score of 818 or higher.

Grade 5 Math Honors:

To be placed in Honors Math, a student’s assessment scores should meet the following benchmarks on at least three of the five assessments: 

  • Terra Nova Mathematics Score - National percentile of 97 or higher. Additionally, this should be one of the scores meeting the benchmark as the test addresses a wide range of math concepts and skills that should be mastered by any student placed in Honors Math .
  • Terra Nova Math Computation Score - National Percentile of 97 or higher.
  • Terra Nova/InView CSI Score - 127 or higher.
  • STAR Winter and Spring Scores - National Percentile of 99. Additionally, only one STAR score may count towards the minimum of three scores required for placement in Honors Math. 

The above benchmark scores represent performance typically within the top 15% of the cohort. 

Grade 6 Math Honors:

If a student is in Grade 5 Math Honors, we seek to continue placement unless classroom performance and/or standardized assessment data indicate otherwise. We consider placing additional students in Honors Math if they have three or more assessment scores that meet the following benchmarks:

  • Terra Nova Mathematics Score - National percentile of 97 or higher. Additionally, this must be one of the scores meeting the benchmark as the test addresses a wide range of math concepts and skills that should be mastered by any student placed in Honors Math. 
  • Terra Nova Math Computation Score - National Percentile of 97 or higher.
  • Terra Nova/InView CSI Score - 130 or higher.
  • STAR Winter and Spring Scores - National Percentile of 99. Additionally, only one STAR score may count towards the minimum of three scores meeting the benchmarks. 

The above benchmark scores represent performance typically within the top 15% of the cohort.

Grade 6 Math Accelerated:

To be placed in Accelerated Math, a student’s assessment scores should meet the following benchmarks on at least three of the five assessments: 

  • Terra Nova Mathematics Score: National Percentile of 86 or higher. Additionally, this should be one of the scores meeting the benchmark as it addresses critical math concepts and skills that should be mostly mastered by students going into Accelerated Math. 
  • Terra Nova Math Computation Score - National Percentile of 86 or higher .
  • Terra Nova/InView CSI Score - 117 or higher.
  • STAR Winter and Spring Scores: National Percentile of 94 or higher. Additionally, only one STAR score may count towards the minimum of three scores meeting the benchmarks. 

The above benchmark scores represent performance typically within the top 50% to 60% of the cohort.

Grade 6 Math:

Students who do not meet the criteria for Honors or Accelerated Math are recommended to continue in the on-grade level curriculum. Please note that in January, the new Terra Nova and STAR scores are reviewed for each student in Grade 6 Math. If the scores meet the placement criteria for Accelerated Math, the Principal, teacher, Math/Science Coordinator and Assistant Superintendent review and discuss the child’s classroom performance and appropriateness of a possible placement change. Data alone will not automatically qualify the child for a placement change.

Step 3: Consult with Teachers

Using the initial placements based on the matrix of data, the Principals and Math/Science Coordinator convene meetings to carefully review and discuss the data with the teachers. The placement of every child in the grade level is discussed. Teachers provide feedback regarding the students’ math abilities demonstrated in class as well as math work habits. For placement in Honors, Accelerated, and Extension classes, we look for confirmation of a student’s ability to do the following: 

  • Problem-solve efficiently and effectively.

  • Persevere through challenging and unfamiliar problems.

  • Apply strong mathematical reasoning and make generalizations.

  • Demonstrate a high level of precision in math solutions, written explanations, and oral explanations.

  • Understand and apply new math concepts and strategies quickly.

The above list is not exhaustive but provides a picture of the characteristics needed to be successful in an advanced math courses. With the additional feedback from the teachers, placement recommendations are made. 

Step 4: Share Placement Recommendations with Asst. Superintendent

The Principal and Math/Science Coordinator review the placement recommendations with the Assistant Superintendent. The overall process is reviewed/confirmed and any questionable placements are flagged, researched, and discussed further. Final placement decisions are made only after the Principal, Assistant Superintendent, and Math/Science Coordinator come to consensus. 

Step 5: Communicate with Parents

Grades 5 and 6: Decisions for placement in Grade 5 Math, Grade 5 Math Honors, and all Grade 6 math courses are discussed in the spring and finalized in the summer. Final placement decisions are mailed home to parents in the summer. 

Grades 3-5 Math Extensions: Placement decisions are made in the early fall (September/October) and invitations to participate in Math Extensions are sent home at that time for students who qualify.