As students move from 5th to 6th grade, it is our goal to place them in classes where they are both sufficiently challenged and appropriately supported. The graphic below was designed to help families and students better understand possible "math pathways" available to students: Grade-level Pacing, Accelerated Pacing, or Double-Accelerated Pacing. Examples of typical math pathways in middle school and high school are as follows:
Please note that all of the pathways provide students the opportunity to access Advanced Placement math classes in high school. For example, a student following the Grade-level Pacing in middle school may be motivated and ready to accelerate once in high school. At that point, it may be possible to double up on math coursework in order to take an AP-level course during senior year.
In considering math placement, it is important to understand that Washington State Mathematics K-12 Learning Standards (“the standards”) were written and adopted with the expectation that students master and fully understand concepts embedded in the standards at each grade level before moving on to the next. The standards were designed so that students in grades K-5 develop the foundation for algebraic thinking using whole numbers. Sixth-grade mathematics is crucial in bridging this foundational work from K-5 to future success in Algebra and Geometry. Developing a solid understanding of concepts in sixth-grade mathematics also fosters confidence and a growth mindset, allowing students to see themselves as mathematical thinkers.
Decisions to accelerate students into high school-level mathematics courses before 9th grade should be carefully considered and based on solid evidence of student learning. Accelerating students too early - particularly before 7th grade - can be detrimental, both to their later success in mathematics and their confidence as mathematical thinkers.
When recommending math placement for students moving into 6th grade, multiple measures are considered. Data-based recommendations allow students to be placed in classes where they are appropriately challenged and supported. A similar process is followed when determining 7th-grade math placement.
As students build a strong understanding of math concepts at each grade level, careful consideration is taken to provide rigorous learning experiences for all students. Pressure to earn a specific score or recommendation for a particular class can weigh heavily on young students. This pressure may result in students feeling unsuccessful or disappointed, not liking the subject, or even developing an ongoing negative attitude towards math. It is important to celebrate students’ growth toward becoming mathematicians while avoiding a fixation on a test score or course recommendation. Peninsula School District believes that all students, with the appropriate balance of challenge and support, are mathematicians who can achieve at high levels of mathematics!
If you have any questions, please reach out to your child’s teacher, the building principal, or:
Secondary Math Instructional Facilitator
K-5 Math & Science Instructional Facilitator
Click here for more information about the content of each math course.
Peninsula School District’s Learning & Teaching Department: 253-530-1007.