Math Placement Testing – beaverton.k12.or.us

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The Beaverton School District includes 34 elementary schools, nine middle schools, six high schools, five option schools, 19 option programs and two charter schools. We have more than 39,000 students and nearly 4,500 staff members.
The Beaverton School Board has seven elected community members who serve four-year terms.  They are volunteers. Though candidates are nominated from the Board Zone they live in, voters in the District elect them at-large.  Each Board member has several school assignments that may or may not be in their zone. 
 
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Guidance & Resources for Families and Caregivers:
Additional Accelerated Math Placement in Middle School
 
In Beaverton School District, 6th grade students are already on an accelerated math track. Our 6th and 7th grade math classes cover three years of math standards. The math pathway looks like this for middle school students:
Diagram of most common 6th, 7th, 8th grade math courses: Math 6/7, Math 7/8, AGS I
While some students may take Math 7/8 or even Alg/Geo/Stats I in 6th grade, the sequence of courses above is the path for the vast majority of math learners; additional acceleration would mean a student skips instruction on targets required for later courses. For a small number of students who have a high degree of proficiency in future learning targets, an adjustment to the math pathway may be appropriate. 
To help determine if a pathway adjustment is appropriate, your student can take a math placement test. If they demonstrate a high level of proficiency they may be considered for a single subject acceleration in math and placed into a more accelerated course.
This assessment is optional and about 90% of BSD students follow the course pathway shown above. Math requires strong foundational skills to be successful in high school and beyond. The math placement process is used to ensure all students are appropriately placed in middle school math courses.
For more information on middle school math courses and learning targets: click here.
For more information on testing see the FAQ below.
Students new to the district who enroll in 6th – 8th grade after September may request to take a placement test. Ask about placement testing at your school’s main office. 
For current students, requests for Single Subject Acceleration for Math for the 2023-2024 School Year will reopen March 15.
This site will be updated in the coming months with more details about the timeline for testing. 
Someone from BSD will reach out to you via email to schedule a testing opportunity for your student soon after April 15th. We prefer students to test in the spring to allow us to accurately forecast and build our school schedules for the upcoming year. August testing while available to any returning student is intended for students who have taken course-work over the summer.
While specific scores will not be returned at the end of the exam, you will be notified of your child’s math placement within two weeks after the testing window has closed.
BSD Graduation Requirements. In order to earn a standard high school diploma in BSD (policy IKF-AR) students must enroll in and pass at least three years of math courses while enrolled in 9-12th grade. For a student that accelerates, they would need to successfully complete three courses of math beyond AGS II once in high school in order to meet the minimum requirement of three math credits for graduation. 
College Entrance Requirements. Our core math sequence of AGS courses is designed to prepare a student for entry-level college math courses. Students who continue to pursue math courses beyond AGS III are engaging in college-level work in high school. A 2019 study by the National Association for College Admission Counseling reported that “The top factors in the admission decision were overall high school GPA, grades in college preparatory courses, strength of curriculum, and admission test scores. Among the next most important factors were the essay, a student’s demonstrated interest, counselor and teacher recommendations, class rank, and extracurricular activities.”
Strong foundation in Algebra is more important than enrollment in Calculus. More important than having taken the highest level of math possible, is nurturing your student’s interest, confidence, and strong foundations in the mathematics covered in the AGS sequence. In a set of recommendations published by the Mathematical Association of America the authors wrote that “[s]tudents are better prepared for post-secondary mathematics when they have developed an understanding of the undergirding principles which, when accompanied by fluent and flexible application of the concepts and procedures of precalculus mathematics, enable them to understand calculus as a coherent and broadly applicable body of knowledge. They continue on to note that “In some sense, the worst preparation a student heading toward a career in science or engineering could receive is one that rushes toward accumulation of problem-solving abilities in calculus while short-changing the broader preparation needed for success beyond calculus.” (Bressoud, Mesa, and Rasmussen, 2015).
All BSD students have the opportunity to take Calculus or another college-level mathematics course in HS without any placement testing or additional acceleration. Students who successfully complete AGS I in 8th grade in our district are on track to be able to access Calculus in high school without further accelerating their course path in mathematics. See the BSD grades 5-12 Math Pathways below:
Diagram showing three different math pathways that students take starting with 1) Math 6/7 in 6th grade 2) Math 7/8 in 6th grade and 3) Alg/Geo/Stats I in 6th Grade. To access paths 2) and 3) a student would need to take a math placement test.
 
 
Testing may help to consistently identify individuals for whom additional acceleration is appropriate. District-wide roughly 11% of our 8th grade students are enrolled in a math course at the AGS II or higher level.
Testing often suggests no change in placement. Hundreds of middle school students took placement tests in summer 2021 and early fall 2021 seeking a different placement. In the vast majority of cases no adjustment was recommended. We believe that the vast majority of our students are well/appropriately placed in sections by following the logical progression of courses offered in their building. However, in some cases placement testing helps confirm that our math placements are the best match for students and help us to demonstrate this to students and families.
Yes, in BSD, the typical math sequence covers all three years of middle school math (Common Core Math 6, 7, and 8) in a two year period. 6th graders are enrolled in Math 6/7 and 7th graders are enrolled in Math 7/8. In this sequence, all 8th graders are enrolled in AGS1, which is the first year of high school level math. It is important to consider the implications of accelerating kids even more than they already are. Any student finding difficulty in an additionally accelerated course to be the result of poor preparation in prior courses may be unable to access an appropriate course once they start to have difficulty. With course acceleration, moving forward is much easier than moving backward.
The math we teach in the 6/7 and 7/8 courses provides an essential foundation for Algebra and other HS concepts and should not be rushed through or skipped. 
From NCTM’s Catalyzing Change in MS Math
The mathematics that students learn during middle school includes many of the most useful mathematics concepts that students will use as adults. For example, the successful acquisition of numeracy concepts explored in middle school, such as the ability to flexibly work with fractions, decimals, and percentages as well as accurately use ratios, proportions, expressions, and simple equations, have been identified by adults as the mathematics that are most useful in their everyday lives (Jonas 2018; NCEE 2013; OECD 2016).
 
Lack of preparation can demotivate, reduce achievement and drive students away from math that they are seeking through accelerated placements. Again from Catalyzing Change in MS Math:
A lack of understanding of middle school mathematics may lead students to not pursue upper-level mathematics courses in high school and beyond (Boaler 2016; Larson 2017a) because of limited mathematical knowledge and lack of desire or motivation to continue to study mathematics throughout their high school career (Liang, Heckman, and Abedi 2012). Students who are not ready but are placed in an advanced mathematics class in eighth grade reported lower self-efficacy, a decline in motivation toward mathematics, and a decrease in task value for mathematics, which correlated with students not taking upper-level mathematics courses in high school (Simzar, Domina, and Tran 2016).
 
Robert Kaplinsky provides a series of cautions to consider in his blog post “The Case Against Acceleration” (Sep 2017, see here) – there is a lengthy discussion below the post as well.
 
 
Yes, BSD Summa programs at Meadow Park, Stoller, Tumwater, and Whitford middle schools will use the results of placement testing to enroll Summa students into math courses for next year. It is recommended that current 5th grade students entering the Summa program take a math placement test to help ensure the most appropriate math placement. Any current 5th grade student qualified for Summa who does not take a placement test will be scheduled for Math 7/8 next year.
Current 6th and 7th grade Summa students do not need to take a test unless they are seeking a different math placement next year.
 
There are two testing windows:
We will not be offering placement tests after the Early August testing window. 
If for some reason your student is not able to take the test during the June or August testing windows, please email us and we will help them test in May.
Your student may only take a placement test once.
 
This assessment will be offered at each of the nine comprehensive middle schools on select dates. The district will communicate dates and locations as well as a signup for the test in late April. Students can take the test at any of the locations, it doesn’t need to be their neighborhood school.
This tests all have a 90-minute time limit. The tests will be given in paper/pencil format with a scantron sheet for students to mark their answers. Students will be provided with scratch paper and a calculator.
Students will be provided accommodations or modifications if present on an IEP or 504 plan. If your student needs accommodations or modifications please be sure to share that information with us when arranging testing (we will be sure to ask).
The tests are written to align to the BSD Learning Targets for the course they are assigned to. (e.g. 5th Grade students to place into Math 7/8 or Alg/Geo/Stats 1 (AGS 1) will need to demonstrate proficiency on learning targets for Math 6/7 on the placement test to enroll in Math 7/8 next year. A current 5th grade student seeking to place into AGS 1 for next year would need to demonstrate proficiency on Math 6/7 and Math 7/8 Learning Targets on the Placement Test.
Course learning targets are on our website
You may be able to check out extra copies of textbooks for a course you are studying from your local BSD middle school's library.
 
When recent (this/last year’s) OSAS scores are available they should be considered along with placement testing and other academic evidence.
In order to change a student’s math course, the first step would be to fill out the Single Subject Acceleration Request for Math form by April 15th. (The form can be found in multiple languages at the top of this page).
Someone from BSD will reach out to you via email to schedule a testing opportunity shortly after. Your student can either test in the spring or if they are taking a summer course-work, they can test the first week of August. Details about these testing windows will be shared by April 29th.
District communications to families and caregivers will acknowledge which test was taken and what the resulting placement will be. Scores and other details about results will not be shared. 
All BSD math courses are built around the major topics students need to learn. Your student’s placement test result may indicate that your student still has valuable learning to do in their upcoming course without adjustment. This is the most common outcome of our placement tests and we feel confident that it is best for the vast majority of our students.
Percent of 8th graders enrolled in AGS II or above (2021-2022 school year):

Students who take Intensive Summer Version course and pass do not need to take a placement test. For more information about ISV courses, pease click here.
 
PAST EVENT: Information Night March 31, 2022 @ 7pm.
The district hosted a district-wide information night March 31 to help families and caregivers understand this process and implications. You can view the slides presented from the event below. There is an option to view the speaker notes as well (click the 
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