Sixth grade is an important year in students’ math education. Math content standards have changed. Many important math concepts previously taught at higher grades have shifted to sixth grade. Most VPS students begin their middle school math sequence with Math I. This is an important foundational course for success in middle school math and beyond.
The last several years of navigating the pandemic have impacted student learning and the student experience in our schools. One of the areas of concern is mathematics achievement. Our goal is for all students to have a positive math learning experience with opportunities for them to accelerate throughout their secondary math journey (see table below) and have access to appropriate grade level instruction. We are recommending that students take Math I to establish a strong mathematical foundation in their launch year of secondary mathematics.
In special circumstances, skipping Math I and accelerating to Math II/III in sixth grade may be appropriate (see pathway 3). A parent or teacher may request their child take a sixth grade end-of-course exam by contacting their child’s elementary school teacher to begin the middle school math acceleration request process. The district recommendation for placement in Math II/III in sixth grade is a combination of data matrix scores and a 90% pass rate on the end-of-course exam. It is important to note that in this accelerated pathway, students will take geometry in the eighth grade either at their local high school (own transportation) or online. There are options to work with the school if families feel their student should skip Math I even if they did not meet the 90% proficiency level. Families should contact their school for more information.
We are supporting 6th grade math instruction through coaching and professional learning for teachers and highly capable coordinators at the schools. We also provide an additional academic support class for students who are below grade level to receive supplemental instruction to meet their needs beyond the Math I class they take.
In seventh grade, students who exceeded grade-level standards the previous year and meet certain criteria will be enrolled in an accelerated pathway (see pathway 2). They will take a course that covers both seventh and eighth grade standards. Then, in eighth grade, these students will go on to take a high school Algebra I class.
While the accelerated pathway is an opportunity for some students, it may not be the preferred option for some parents and guardians, who may opt to have their child remain in the traditional sequence of math courses. It is important to remember that this sequence is designed to help students gain a deep understanding of mathematical concepts. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s school.