Accelerated Math Pathway
Starting with the 2016/17 school year, Andover Public Schools is offering an accelerated math pathway in 7th and 8th grades. The content standards outlined in the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics have been compacted to ensure students have the prerequisite knowledge to be successful in future math classes.
Criteria for Placement into the Accelerated Math Pathway
One of our challenges is to ensure that the appropriate students are placed in the Accelerated Math Pathway. To assist in the decision making, the middle school math teachers, along with the administrative team, spent several weeks gathering and compiling data to help determine each child’s recommended math placement.
The criteria used to make this decision include the student’s:
- first and second-term numerical grades
- MCAS scaled scores from Grade 5
- standard score from the Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test (IAAT)
- score from a math disposition and skills rubric, incorporating teacher recommendations
The criteria for placement is designed to identify very high achieving and highly motivated mathematics students, in order to give them the opportunity to participate in accelerated mathematics classes beginning in 7th grade.
Using these four criteria, a composite score is calculated for each rising 7th grader. This score determines a student’s eligibility to enroll in the Accelerated Math Pathway.
Scores fall into one of three categories:
- Any student whose composite score falls below 85.5 will not qualify for the Accelerated Math Pathway. Our ultimate goal is to have children succeed in math. Placing an unprepared student in this course, with its rapid pace and high level of difficulty, could adversely affect a child’s attitude toward math as well as the child’s perception of his or her ability to be successful in math. None of us want that outcome. We want to reassure you that even though your child does not take the compacted course in Grade 7, he or she will still have an opportunity to reach the Calculus math course as a senior, if desired. We anticipate that APS will continue to offer a summer program in Algebra and Geometry. There is also the opportunity to take two math courses concurrently as a sophomore.
- Any student whose composite score is 90 or above is eligible to participate in the Accelerated Math Pathway in Grade 7. Please note that this is only a recommendation. You as the parent have the ultimate decision as to whether or not your child participates. The pace of the class is very fast, so students should be able to grasp topics quickly and work independently. This opportunity begins with summer work that will be reviewed during the first week of school. We strongly urge you to have a frank conversation with your child about the pace and rigor of the course. It may be that your student plans to focus on extracurricular or other activities next year and will not have the time needed to meet the homework/project expectations of this particular course. Regardless of eligibility, your child’s circumstances and temperament should be kept in mind when making the decision about participation. As noted above in category 1, if your child chooses to not enroll in the Accelerated Math Pathway, there will still be ample opportunity to reach Calculus by the senior year.
- Any student with a composite score between 85.5 and 89.5 falls into the “too close to call” category. As educators, we believe the decision of whether or not the student should participate in the compacted course is best made by the parent in consultation with his or her teacher. If you believe that your child has the necessary academic and study skills—as well as the time and temperament—to be successful, then he/she will be placed in the course. We will do our best to provide adequate support throughout the year, but please keep in mind that the student will need to assume responsibility for maintaining pace with the rest of the class. As noted above in category 1, if your child chooses to not enroll in the Accelerated Math Pathway, there will still be ample opportunity to reach Calculus by the senior year.