Math Education Pathways
Eden Prairie School District Optionsrevised 3/07
One of the topics that we are asked about most is math, especially regarding the different options and pathways that are available for highly able math students as they move from elementary school to Oak Point and CMS, and on to high school. To answer some of these questions and help parents better understand how their child’s path fits with the overall math instruction options available, we have put together a diagram outlining the District’s math pathways. You may wish to view that diagram as you read the following explanation:
Timing and Placement
If your elementary student is profoundly gifted in mathematics, you may want to explore subject acceleration. To pursue this option, parents or the student can request a formal assessment of the student’s mathematical ability. If placement in a higher grade level for math is deemed appropriate, then options are discussed, including placing the student with an older grade for math instruction, online learning options, or independent study. Parents should discuss this with the classroom teacher or the G/T teacher.
For highly gifted math students, the district offers an accelerated math program that typically begins when the student is going into 5th grade. It is important for parents to familiarize themselves with this option as early as the beginning of 4th grade. You can do so by visiting the district website or by meeting with the G/T teacher in your building. Students seen as extremely bright math students are identified around January-February of the 4th grade year and are given a G/T administered math assessment which identifies a wide range of high ability math skills. Determination of eligibility for this assessment is based on meeting 3 of the following 5 criteria:
- 3rd grade MCA results (must be a level 4)
- 4th grade NWEA MAP test (Math total score above 98%)
- 4th grade CoGat Quantitative score above 98th percentile
- 4th grade CoGat Nonverbal score above 95th percentile
- Teacher recommendation
Referred students from all elementary schools are tested, and those who have high performance go in to Accelerated Math in 5th grade. In the 2006-07 school year, about 120 students out of the approximately 800 are following this path. Accelerated Math is demanding and fast paced, jumping straight into 6th grade material while the students are in 5th grade, and carrying a large homework load. If you think that your 4th grader should be considered for Accelerated Math, communicate this to the classroom teacher by the November/December conference time at the latest.
For a child who is not placed in Accelerated Math in 5th grade, there are still options. Students at Oak Point are grouped for math and placed according to the grouping into regular and enriched math. Both of these programs use the Investigations curriculum in 5th grade and the Connected Math Program in 6th grade. The enriched math classes will also have supplemental material appropriate to the current topic. Classroom teachers should be able to answer any of your questions about this curriculum.
Most importantly, there are options available for students who seem to be misplaced. Credit for Learning may be possible for students to accelerate in math. If you feel that your child should be on a different path, you should speak to your classroom teacher and/or the Gifted and Talented teacher at that school. For example, 7th grade students who are not currently enrolled in the accelerated math program can register for a 6-week summer class to cover Algebra I. If the student successfully completes the course and demonstrates a readiness for the faster pace, the student can then be registered for Geometry in 8th grade.
Once a student arrives at high school, the paths take several directions, depending on previous coursework completed. Some possible paths include:
- 9-algebra I, 10-geometry, 11-algebra II, 12-pre-calc
- 9-geometry, 10-algebra II, 11-pre-calc, 12-AP calc AB
- 9-algebra II, 10-pre-calc, 11-AP calc AB, 12-AP calc BC
- 9-algebra II, 10-pre-calc, 11-AP calc AB and AP calc BC, 12-Calc III
Other variations are possible depending on the student’s interest and schedule. A student may be able to “double up” on math classes during a given year and might especially desire to do so with AP Calc AB and AP Calc BC to prepare for the AP Calc BC test in May (see #4). Regular and enriched versions of math courses are available through Pre-Calculus. Calculus AB is a “regular” alternative to AP Calculus AB, and students who choose this option may elect to take the AP Calculus AB exam even though they have not taken the advanced class (which specifically prepares you for the exam). Calculus III is available for students who have completed AP Calculus BC. Statistics is available to students who have completed Algebra II. The more rigorous AP Statistics is available once a student completes Pre-Calc.
Please note that the above information and the Math Paths diagram should be considered as a guideline based on known information to date, but is subject to change. Specific details should be confirmed with classroom teachers and/or GT staff at each individual school. Please also note that the diagram does not include math options that may be available for students who are struggling with the basic math program and may require additional assistance. Nor does it include options outside of the Eden Prairie school system for extremely able math students. To find out more about such options, including UMTYMP (University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program), please view the Math section at Beyond the Classroom.