Parent Information

  • Parent Information Regarding the Double Accelerated 7H/Math Cluster Process

    What information do I need to know about the Double Accelerated 7H/Cluster Math placement process?

    The placement process gathers information about exceptional math ability and aptitude present at the end of Grade 5. The process is about determining student needs and matching those needs to available programming at the middle level.

    Instructional Challenge staff facilitates the identification of a small number of mathematically gifted and talented fifth grade students for placement, as sixth graders, in double accelerated 7H math at BRMS and Cluster Math at CRMS. In this placement, teaching strategies and approaches that challenge mathematically talented learners are implemented.

    The Instructional Challenge website (Curriculum-Curriculum Services- Instructional Challenge) can be accessed for additional information.

    Parents with specific questions or concerns may contact the Instructional Challenge Specialist in their child’s building or Nancy Campbell, Standards Leader for Instructional Challenge.

    How is the decision to make a recommendation for Double Accelerated 7H/Cluster Math made?

    To make a recommendation for placement in 7H/Cluster Math, we screen across the district for students who demonstrate exceptional ability in math. Data is gathered from the state math and ELA assessments and the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test given in 4th grade. High performing grade level math students are also given an above grade level achievement test. Exceptional performance on this test indicates which students will continue to perform at high levels (aptitude), if radically accelerated. The Instructional Challenge Specialists review the cross-district data to identify students who score at predetermined benchmarks (State assessment scores >90% in math; 89% and above for math and 88% and above for reading on the above grade level achievement test; OLSAT scores 130 and above). Students who qualify are reviewed by building Instructional Support Teams. At this review, factors such as maturity and independence are also considered when making a decision to potentially recommend a student for accelerated placement.

    Who is given the above grade level achievement test? How is that decision made?

    High performing grade level math students are screened for exceptional aptitude in math. They are also screened for reading comprehension.

    An above grade level achievement test, is given to assess the aptitude of students for an accelerated math placement in middle school. Students who perform exceptionally well on the assessment, are likely to continue to do well if accelerated in math.

    How will we know when the above grade level assessment is given?

    Students are told, a few days ahead of time, that they will be taking an assessment designed to gather additional information for math program decisions at the middle school. This particular assessment asks students to reason out math problems, some of which they have not been taught. This assessment is only one of many pieces of information used to determine and meet student math needs in the middle school.

    How do I prepare my child so they will qualify for Double Accelerated 7H/Cluster Math?

    You cannot prepare your child to qualify for 7H. We do not have a certain number of spots available per building. We look for those few students cross-district who demonstrate such exceptional math ability that they require a program of study that accommodates their unique learning needs. Many high performing and gifted students do not qualify for placement in this course. We are looking for students who need this type of accelerated placement, not those who “could probably make it” with support. Students who are coached or pre-taught math content before the test will receive an invalid score, which can set them up for failure in cluster math/7H.

    How is the recommendation communicated to parents? What information are they given about Double Accelerated 7H/Cluster Math and the rigor and format of the placement?

    Recommendations for a potential accelerated placement are made to a student’s parents by the student’s math teacher, the Challenge Specialist and often the building principal.

    Parents are invited through an email or phone call to attend a meeting to discuss the possibility and appropriateness of an accelerated placement for their child. At the time of the meeting, information about the math pathway, challenges related to course content and approach, and successful student characteristics are shared. It is also shared with parents that continued placement in the course is not guaranteed, what factors may indicate a need for another placement, and how those issues are addressed at the middle school. The student’s math teacher shares specific concerns/considerations important for making family decisions regarding an accelerated placement.

    What if I don’t agree with the placement decision?

    A meeting may also be held to discuss why a student is not recommended for an accelerated math placement. When a student does not qualify for placement in 7H/Cluster Math through the 5th grade process, but his or her parent has a concern about the appropriateness of the decision, these protocols are followed:

    • Placement concern  is communicated to the middle school principal by the elementary building principal

    • Middle school principal communicates the concern to the student’s  6H classroom teacher

    • Student is observed/assessed for the first 5-6 weeks by the 6H teacher

    • Acceleration Review Process (ARP) Team meets to discuss the student at the 6 week mark, or earlier if indicated by data and observation

      • 6H classroom teacher  presents new observational and assessment data and an ARP Team decision is made and communicated to parents:

        •  Continue the student’s current placement in 6H

          OR

        • Collect additional data to determine if 6H or 7H is the correct placement

          • Additional testing is carried out (above grade level assessment)

          • Student may spend a few days in 7H to get a feel for the pace of the class and so that the 7H teacher can see how the student performs in the double accelerated setting

          • Parent feedback  is solicited

      • The ARP Team meets again to look at the new data (teachers’ observations, parent’s observations, class work, and assessment data) and make a determination about the student’s placement

      • ARP Team decision is communicated to parents