Need help with math placement? Give Singapore’s math placement tests!

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Need help with math placement? Give Singapore’s math placement tests!

Children vary greatly in math skills and abilities, especially as they get older. Heart of Dakota understands age is only one piece of the math placement puzzle. This is why every Heart of Dakota guide includes multiple math levels of instruction. One child might be advanced in math, one more average, and one struggling. Heart of Dakota has plans for all types of math students. Proper math placement is important. By matching children to their current math skills, all children can move forward and improve. If math placement is off, children and parents alike are frustrated. It is impossible to move forward in math skills if you start with a math placement that is too hard or to easy. So, how can you choose the proper math placement for each child? Well, that’s what this blog post is all about!

A Brief Explanation of Singapore Math and the Placement Tests

Heart of Dakota’s guides include multiple levels of instruction for Singapore Primary Mathematics. Our guides also include hands-on activities for teaching Singapore’s Math’s Kindergarten Essentials A and B, Primary Mathematics 1A and 1B, and Primary Mathematics 2A and 2B. To see why Heart of Dakota chose Singapore Primary Mathematics, click here! For the most accurate placement in Singapore Math, it is best to give the placement test. But before getting into the placement test, I need to explain a little about Singapore Math’s levels!

Some Basic Information About Singapore Math’s Levels

Singapore Math is considered at least one year advanced. For example, an average fifth grade math student would probably place in Singapore 4A/4B.  A struggling fifth grade math student might place in 3A/3B or 3B/4A, while an advanced fifth grade math student might place in 5A/5B, 5B/6A, or 6A/6B. Level “A” is a semester, and level “B” is a semester. If students take the math placement test and place in a level “B” first (i.e. level 4B), students can start the year with level B and end the year with level “A” (i.e. 4B first semester, 5A second semester). So, how do you know which Singapore Math level to begin with when giving the placement test? Well, let’s see!

Choosing Which Singapore Math Level to Begin With

The best way to determine where to start in Singapore Math is to give the free placement test(s). (Keep in mind there is no kindergarten math placement test. Children in kindergarten should begin with K Essentials A and B, unless you feel they are advanced. If they are advanced, you can begin testing with level 1A). For children in first through seventh grade, in general, you can start testing one grade level behind the child’s current grade level (i.e. fifth graders can start with 4A). However, you can move the level you start testing with up or down based on whether your child struggles or excels with math. To start, just click here for the math placement tests. Be sure you choose the Primary Mathematics version of the math placement test – NOT the Dimensions version. Click on the level you want to start with and print the test. (The answers are at the end, so be sure you don’t give your child that page.)

Scoring the Test and Moving Up or Down Levels to Find Math Placement

Try not to help with the test, as this inflates scores. If children receive 80% or higher, they have adequately passed that test, and they move on to the next test (i.e. 80% or higher on 4A, try moving on to 4B). If children receive a very low score, they move down to the previous test (i.e. 30% or lower on 4A, try moving down to 3B). This is a general rule of thumb, and you can take into account other factors (i.e. how quickly they’d catch on with a little help, if they’ve been on summer break and just need a few reminders to catch on, etc.). Children may need a break in between tests for accurate results. Children may need to take several levels of tests before arriving at a math placement best for them. Wherever children place, even if it is lower than you anticipated, start there. If they tested into a “B” book, just begin with that. It will be fine!

What to Do Once You’ve Scored Your Children’s Math Placement Tests

Once you have scored your children’s math placement tests, if you know what level to start with, simply order from Heart of Dakota an “A” and a “B” level for the year. You may also want to order from Heart of Dakota a Singapore Math Answer Key. I found the keys with the answers only to be enough up through about 4B or 5A. I enjoyed having the line by line solutions in the Home Instructors guides starting at 5A or 5B and moving up through 6A and 6B. You can order those here by clicking and scrolling to the math sections: 1A-3B Answers Only Key, 4A-6B Answers Only Key, 5A/5B and 6A/6B Home Instructor’s Guides with line by line solutions.

If you have scored your children’s math placement tests, and are still confused about which level to start with, simply give Heart of Dakota a call or an email.  Explain what you learned from the math placement tests, how they went overall, and what scores your children made on the math placement tests you gave. We can figure it out together!

Finally, if you are ordering math alongside a younger guide (Little Hearts, Beyond Little Hearts, or Bigger Hearts), the math is included within a package. If you need a “B” and then an “A” instead, just note this as a substitution in the notes/ordering instructions box when ordering from Heart of Dakota online. That way, you can still receive your package savings, and get exactly the math levels your children need!

What if your children scored lower on the math placement tests?

If your children scored lower on the math placement tests, do not be dismayed! We take children where they are in math and steadily move them forward. To move children more quickly through math levels, never double up math lessons in one day. Rather, do one math lesson each day, but do math more days. One easy way to do this is to do five days of math lessons even when using four-day-a-week Heart of Dakota guides. Or, do one extra math lesson on Saturdays.  Or, do three or four extra math lessons three or four days a week during a summer break. Little by little, children will catch up!

Often times, especially for children in third through sixth grade, math scores are lower if children don’t have their math facts memorized. If that is the case, click here and here to see what to do! If your children test out of Singapore Math 6B, I’ll have another post coming to help with that!  Finally, if you decide Singapore Math is not for you, simply choose another math program! Any math works with Heart of Dakota.

In Christ,

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Author: Julie Grosz, M.Ed.

Some passions of mine are homeschooling with Heart of Dakota, cooking with All Recipes, reading Jane Austen in a bubble bath, singing along with lyrics that strike a chord, making family traditions, creating organization out of disorganization, and writing words - in emails, posts, and books - that glorify God. I'm a teacher and an editor by trade. Here's a quick rundown of my numbers... 24 years of teaching (7 public school, 17 homeschool), 6 years of college (4 undergrad, 2 graduate for my masters in education), 18 years of working for HOD, 48 years old, 25 years of marriage, 3 sons who are 20, 17, and 13 - and I believe that should about 'sum' it up! You can view my blog here -

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