In March 2015, after months of careful consideration, research, discussion, and stakeholder input, Laguna Beach USD adopted our Secondary Mathematics Pathways, which align to the Common Core State Standards. These pathways provide rigorous mathematics instruction for all students leading to access for all to Calculus or Statistics by the senior year. Additionally, the pathways and comprehensive placement criteria provide for early interventions and support to ensure all students have the opportunIty to be successful not only in math, but gain the skills and knowledge to be successful in college, career, and life.
Middle School Math Placement
In the spring, Laguna Beach USD will begin the process of determining 6th, 7th, and 8th grade student math placement for the 2017-2018 academic year. As part of this rigorous process, multiple measures will be used to determine appropriate math placement, including, end of course assessments, math grades, and state test results.
At the end of May, parents of 5th, 6th, and 7th graders will receive an informational letter regarding the middle school math placement process and pathways. This letter will also be posted on our website. If you have questions regarding middle school math placement or the math pathways, please contact your child's principal.
High School Math Placement
Students will be placed into high school mathematics courses based on multiple measures, including math semester grades, final exam scores, and teacher input. Students may also be placed in math support classes based on these multiple performance measures. For a complete listing of available LBHS math courses and prerequisites, please refer to the LBHS Course Cataogue.
The following are examples of choices and opportunities for Middle and High School math sequences.
What are the math pathways available in Laguna Beach Unified?
For information about and to access a copy of the secondary math pathways for Laguna Beach Unified, please go to LBUSD Math Pathways.
What are the criteria for placement in the advanced 6th grade math course?
Students must show mastery of the standards on multiple assessment measures, including the CAASPP Summative Math Test, the Math End of Year Benchmark, and their 5th grade math end of year grade. Each of these measures is given a score of 1-4 based on specific cut scores. Students must receive a combined score of 11 or 12 in order to be offered the opportunity to be placed in the advanced class in 6th grade.
Why were students not given the opportunity to study for the End-of-Year Benchmark or given a study guide?
This test, like the CAASPP, is meant to measure a student's depth of mastery and retention of all of the 5th grade standards. Only students who have an extremely deep understanding of the standards should be placed in an accelerated middle school course. Furthermore, students who are ready for accelerated classes should be able to retain this deep understanding of the math skills and concepts without re-teaching or "studying" for the test. Therefore, there is no reason to study for the End of Year Benchmark or the CAASPP Summative exam.
How will parents be notified if their student qualifies for the advanced math class in 6th grade?
If a student meets all 3 criteria for placement in the advanced math class, they will receive a letter with their student's scores and a Permission for Placement form at the beginning of July. Once the permission for placement is returned, the student will be placed in the accelerated course. If a parent would like for their student to remain in the rigorous grade level course, they can indicate this on the permission form.
What percentage of students qualified for the advanced 6th grade math course?
For the 2015-16 school year, approximately 7% of the incoming 6th graders qualified for the accelerated pathway based on the old placement criteria (a placement test taken in the summer and a summer bridge course). For the 2016-17, approximately 13% of the incoming 6th graders qualified for the accelerated pathway using the new placement criteria (the CAASPP Summative Math test, the End of Year Benchmark, and the student's end of year math grade). Therefore, by using multiple measures, available for each student, we are able to identify all students who have the depth of knowledge and level of mastery of the math content and practice standards to be successful in an accelerated math course.
Why were all students given the End-of-Course Benchmark instead of only giving it to those students with high grades and CAASPP scores?
We want to provide all students with an equal opportunity to meet the criteria for advanced math placement and equal access to the advanced math pathways based on their level of mastery. Therefore, instead of making the placement test only available to students who were able to take it outside of the regular school day and attend a summer bridge course, we extended the opportunity to all students by having all 5th graders take it during the regular school day.
Additionally, math placement is only one small reason for the End of Year Benchmark. The more important reason for giving the test to all students is because of the valuable data gained regarding each student's level of mastery of the standards and areas needing more support. While the CAASPP Summative Math test only breaks the data into three claim levels, the End of Year Benchmark provides detailed information about each student's depth of knowledge and mastery of each 5th grade math standard. This provides valuable information to the 6th grade teachers who will have a much deeper understanding of each student's strengths and areas for growth before they even meet them on the first day of school. This will allow them to better differentiate the curriculum to meet each student's individual needs and provide a more enriched learning experience.
If my student did not qualify for the accelerated pathway in 6th grade, will they have other opportunities?
Based on the new LBUSD Mathematics Pathways students have multiple opportunities for acceleration. All students will be assessed based on the same criteria each year in middle school and will have the opportunity to advance each year if they meet the criteria. Students who do not meet the criteria in 6th grade will be able to try again in 7th and 8th grade. In high school, all students must take Algebra and Geometry (unless they successfully complete Algebra in 8th grade) and then they can choose to be on the accelerated honors pathway or rigorous grade level pathway. Regardless of which pathway students take in middle school and which pathway they are on in high school, all students will have to opportunity to participate in rigorous, college preparatory mathematics classes and take calculus, if they choose, by their senior year.