Transition from Skokie to Washburne

  • Description of Grade 7 Math Placement Process

    The Winnetka Public Schools has a long- standing philosophy of meeting the needs of students in heterogeneous groups. We support children by developing a challenging learning environment in all classrooms. Our teachers create engaging math environments supported by high quality instruction, curriculum, and assessment. We are cautious of labeling children at an early age. Recent research suggests that all students, including the highest performing students, achieve at greater rates in mixed ability classrooms. This is supported by the Common Core: “ Placing students into tracks too early should be avoided at all costs. It is not recommended to compact the standards before Grade 7.” (CCSS-M, Appendix A). Students are challenged through the use of differentiated tasks and flexible grouping within the classroom.

    As Winnetka students leave Grade 6, their K-6 math experience has culminated in a strong background in operations of whole and rational numbers, the number system, expressions and equations, measurement and data, geometry, statistics, and ratios and proportional relationships. They have different levels of readiness for the abstract thinking required in Algebra I.

    In Grade 7, a small percentage of students will take Algebra I through the Township Mathematics Program, commonly known as “New Trier Math”. (Click here for FAQ’s regarding placement process for the New Trier Math Program.) This program is designed for students who are considered “outliers” and have the algebra aptitude to launch from Grade 6 math directly to Algebra I.

    Washburne offers two math progressions:

    • Grade 7 Math → Grade 8 Math (formerly known as “Two Year” Math)
      • These students take Algebra I in Grade 9
    • Grade 7/8 Math → Algebra I (formerly known as “One Year” Math)
      • These students take Geometry in Grade 9

    Mathematics Placement Process from Grade 6 to Grade 7

    What is the Goal of Grade 7 Math Placement Process?

    The goal of the placement process is to recommend a Grade 7 → Grade 8 mathematics progression which allows each child to experience success, challenge, and growth while building a strong foundation of mathematical understanding and skill. This in turn leads to success in future higher level math courses.

    Who Makes the Recommendation?

    A committee of professionals carefully deliberates each Grade 6 student’s math profile. This team consists of Grade 6 math teachers, administrators, department chairs, and facilitators from Skokie and Washburne.

    What Is Included in the Student Profile?

    Students are carefully evaluated on a number of readiness factors. These include:

    • Prerequisite mathematical understandings and skills
    • Readiness to understand abstract mathematical concepts
    • Performance on assessments
    • Ability to grasp new concepts
    • Self-advocacy
    • Engagement in higher level mathematical thinking
    • Finding patterns and seeing relationships
    • Proficiency in the Mathematical Practices (perseverance, problem solving, communication, reasoning, making connections and generalizations)

    What is the Timing of the Placement?

    Placement recommendations are made at the end of the Grade 6 year. This allows teachers to look at an entire year's worth of mathematical growth and achievement for each of their students. As the mathematics units in winter and spring become more abstract, it is important to consider student achievement in those areas.

    When Are Families Notified of the Placement?

    Grade 7 math placements are sent with team placements by Carleton Washburne School administrators in August.

    Importance of Appropriate Math Placement 

    The goal of Grade 7 math placement is to make the best recommendation possible with the greatest chance of student success in mathematics from Grades 7 - 12. Read more about the importance of taking Algebra I when developmentally ready in the 2013 article by NCTM President Linda Gojak, Algebra: Not If, But When?