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 ,” 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 , 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

Ken Houghton August 29, 2012 at 03:13 PM
29 is 2/3rds of 24?
Carolyn Maynard-Parisi August 29, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Ken: 2/3 of the total number of students who participated in the step-up HONORS class succeeded in being placed in those classes. ALL of the students (24) who participated in the step-up to ACCELERATION class were accelerated. Sorry if that was unclear.
Morrisa da Silva August 30, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Besides the step up program's 24 students (which seems like a very good program), what accounts for this years significant increase in students placed in an accelerated track ? An increase from 11-27 to the 53 students mentioned in this year's acceleration class is significant. Were the tests changed or cut-offs shifted or are students just performing significantly better ? I would be very interested in hearing more on this.
Marina Budhos September 06, 2012 at 05:21 PM
If I understand this new program correctly, I think it's an excellent idea. There has always been cohort of students who leave 5th grade mathematics at a borderline or overlapping place, who fall between the cracks, and just need some additional amplification and solidity to advance. (Indeed I suspect that there is always a cohort such as this, not just from 5th to 6th) And the program also makes sense for those students who are on the verge of being ready for acceleration. We certainly would have appreciated this program and opportunity had it been available previously.


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