District Deems Step-Up Math Program a Success
Summer program assisted students "on the cusp" of accelerated or honors placement.
A new summer “Step Up” program the South Orange-Maplewood School District offered for rising 6th grade students on the borderline for placement in accelerated and honors math was a success, according to Superintendent Brian Osborne.
All 24 students who participated in the program for acceleration will skip ahead into 7th grade math, and two-thirds of those (29 students) who were on the cusp for honors classes will enter those classes in the fall, Osborne reported at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.
“This puts so many more students on the path to be successful in calculus and post-calculus later in their academic career at Columbia High School,” Osborne said.
The new program consisted of 90 hours of review over the course of five weeks in the summer, said Dr. Candice Beattys, supervisor of 6-12 math.
The 24 students will join 53 who already qualified for accelerated math, for a total of 77 students – an sizeable increase over past years, when the total number of students has ranged from 11-27.
Students entering 6th grade are placed in one of three levels – Acceleration, Honors or College Preparatory – based on a combination of Fifth Grade Common Assessments (CA-5), a Sixth Grade Placement Test (PT-6) and NJASK-4 scores. A chart showing the possible sequences of math courses depending on level placement can be found in a PDF attached to this story.
Board member Madhu Pai asked Osborne if the district plans to support the newly-accelerated students. According to Beattys, the district will monitor the students and teachers will be aware of possible gaps that might exist from skipping a grade. “We have a very good track record with kids being successful and staying in the program,” said Beattys.
Beattys said that next school year, the district would give parents of eligible children more advance notice about the program.
This year, the district made a change to levels in 6th grade math, collapsing levels into College Prep and Honors but maintaining the acceleration option. There were no changes made to 7th grade or 8th grade math levels.
Details of all the deleveling changes can be found on the district website here.