Math acceleration Information
District Beliefs about Mathematics and Acceleration
Mathematics instruction is deliberately formative in building conceptual and procedural understandings, both of which are crucial to mastering advanced mathematical concepts. We believe that by teaching a thoughtful progression as articulated by the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSS-M), District 65 students will build a strong mathematical foundation for college and career readiness and beyond.
While some students may excel in developing specific sets of mathematical skills, it is critical that students master the broad set of skills and understandings associated with success in advanced mathematics. Students who accelerate in mathematics by “grade skipping” miss an entire year of conceptual knowledge and skill building that provide essential components of the learning progression. The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics document, “Appendix A: Designing High School Mathematics Courses Based on the Common Core State Standards,” highlights that “placing students into [accelerated] tracks too early should be avoided at all costs.” The document further states, “it is not recommended to [accelerate] the standards before grade seven.”
K-5 Math acceleration Policy
The general recommendation of District 65 is for students to experience grades K-5 mathematics in its entirety. For the vast majority of students in grades K-5, grade skipping in math is not appropriate and potentially detrimental. The math curriculum and instructional strategies, combined with in-class differentiation of lessons and activities, meets the needs of the vast majority of our students. Math acceleration by grade skipping in District 65 for elementary students is extremely rare.
In the case where a student in grades K-4 demonstrates mathematical mastery of at least one year above and beyond their grade level, we provide an opportunity for further testing to determine if they will benefit from grade skipping. Again, these cases represent very unique situations and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
All students will have an opportunity to take a Math Qualifying Exam for Acceleration at the end of grade 5 to determine the appropriate path in 6th-8th grades. All students in Math 6 will also have an opportunity to take a Math Qualifying Exam for Acceleration to determine the appropriate path for 7th and 8th grades.
6-8 Math acceleration Policy
The general recommendation of District 65 is for students to experience grades 6-8 mathematics in its entirety. District 65’s regular math pathway is already an accelerated pathway. Our 8th graders experience a rigorous high school level Algebra course, from which the vast majority of students place into Geometry in their freshman year at ETHS, which typically leads to taking an AP Mathematics course during their senior year.
In the exceptional case where a student at the end of 5th grade has demonstrated the ability to successfully experience a more rigorous mathematical opportunity, we offer an accelerated Math 6/7 course for 6th graders at Chute, Haven and Nichols. This course provides a pathway to Geometry Honors in grade 8 and will address the CCSS-M content gaps that students traditionally experience by grade skipping Math 6 and directly enrolling in Math 7.
Middle school students at King Arts and Bessie Rhodes use grade skipping, as opposed to a compacted 6/7 Math, in order to take Algebra prior to 8th grade.
In some cases, 6th graders in Math 6 may have the opportunity to grade skip Math 7 and place directly into Algebra as a 7th grader. 7th graders in Math 7 move into Algebra 1 in 8th grade.
Important dates and Information
To see important events and dates related to mathematics acceleration, please click here
Possible acceleration in mathematics is a very important choice in a child’s schooling and is appropriate for only a small number of students. We encourage families who are interested in accelerating their child to view this video
from Stanford University researcher Dr. Jo Boaler, as well as this message
from Mr. Matt Larson, President of the National Council for the Teachers of Mathematics as you consider whether acceleration is appropriate for your child.