Middle School Math Placement Tests

From Our House to Yours

Need help with math placement for your middle school students?  Well, this blog is here to help!

Middle school students vary greatly in math skills and abilities. 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 your middle school student? Well, that’s what this blog post is all about!

A Brief Explanation of the Middle School Curriculum Principle of Mathematics

Principles of Mathematics is a Christian curriculum aimed at grades six through eight. It is best to use Principles of Mathematics one or two years prior to starting high school algebra. If following traditional grade levels, Principles of Mathematics Book 1 would be completed in grade six or seven, and Principles of Mathematics Book 2 would be completed in grade seven or eight. Book 1 covers the core principles of arithmetic and geometry (along with some statistics), while Book 2 builds on those principles as it introduces the core principles of algebra, probability, and trigonometry (along with more statistics).

The curriculum consists of the Student Textbook and the Teacher Guide. The Student Textbook contains the lessons, and the Teacher Guide contains all the worksheets, quizzes, and tests, along with an Answer Key and suggested schedule. Each lesson takes about 30-45 minutes, with a pace of 4-5 days a week.

A Brief Overview of the Principles of Mathematics Book 1: Placement Test

Principles of Mathematics designed this test to help determine if a middle school student is ready to begin Book 1 of Principles of Mathematics. If students get problems wrong on the placement test, check to see if they made a careless error or if they truly didn’t understand a concept. It’s okay if students make a few errors; however, it’s important that students are familiar with these concepts before beginning Book 1:

  • addition
  • subtraction
  • multiplication
  • division
  • decimals (including adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing them)
  • fractions (including adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing them)

Middle school students also need to have the mental development to explore problem solving, which will be emphasized in Book 1. Note: Book 1 will review addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, decimals, and fractions, so if middle school students struggle with any of those concepts they will get practice and reinforcement; however, it should not be the first time they’re encountering them.

A Brief Overview of the Principles of Mathematics Book 2: Placement Test

Principles of Mathematics designed this test to help determine if a middle school student is ready to begin Book 2 of Principles of Mathematics or if they need to start in Book 1. You may explain the instructions and terms on the test as needed. The point is to see if students have the skills to solve the problems. If students get problems wrong on the placement test, check to see if they made a careless error, didn’t understand the instructions, or if they truly didn’t understand a concept. It’s okay if students make a few errors, but it’s important that middle school students understand these concepts before beginning Book 2, as they are only very briefly reviewed in Book 2:

  • basic math skills (including rounding and working with decimals)
  • fractions
  • unit conversion
  • negative numbers
  • geometry formulas (finding perimeter, area, and volume)
  • exponents
  • problem-solving skills

If you feel your middle school student could use a deeper understanding of arithmetic (place value, basic operations, decimals, fractions, etc.), the basics of geometry, or problem-solving skills, we recommend starting with Book 1 even if your student can pass this placement test. Book 1 stresses those concepts, while Book 2 focuses more on pre-algebra concepts.

Clickable Links for the Principles of Mathematics Placement Tests and for Samples of the Teacher Guides and Student Books 

Need the Book 1 placement test? Click here!

For the Book 2 placement test, click here!

To check out samples of the Book 1 Teacher Guide, click here.

Or, to check out samples of the Book 1 Student Book, click here.

For the Book 2 Teacher Guide samples, click here.

Or, for the Book 2 Student Book samples, click here.

How to Order What You Need After Scoring Your Middle School Students’ Placement Test(s)

Once you have scored your student’s math placement test(s), if you know what level to start with, simply order from Heart of Dakota the appropriate Teacher’s Guide and Student’s Book. You can order those here by clicking and scrolling to the math sections: Principles of Mathematics Teacher’s Guide Book 1 and Student Book 1, or Principles of Mathematics Teacher’s Guide Book 2 and Student Book 2. 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!

Still not sure? Well, here are some pretty standard sequence options for middle school students who have or have not been using Singapore Primary Mathematics.

If you have a middle school student who has been using Singapore’s Primary Mathematics, that student has several math paths. An average math student doing well with Singapore Primary Mathematics could use 5A/5B for sixth grade, 6A/6B for seventh grade, and Principles of Mathematics Book 2 for eighth grade. A struggling math student who is not doing as well with Singapore Primary Mathematics could use 5A/5B for sixth grade, Principles of Mathematics Book 1 for seventh grade, and Principles of Mathematics Book 2 for eighth grade. An advanced math student doing well with Singapore Primary Mathematics could use 6A/6B for sixth grade, Principles of Mathematics Book 2 for seventh grade, and do Algebra 1 for eighth grade.

If you have a middle school student who has not been using Singapore Primary Mathematics, Principles of Mathematics is also an excellent option!

What if your middle school students scored lower on the math placement tests?

If your middle school students scored lower on their 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, students will catch up!

In Christ,
Julie

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

From Our House to Yours

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,
Julie