The Common Core requirements have created a need for a shift in the Middle School mathematics program. All Woodside School students have traditionally completed 6th grade math, 7th grade Pre-Algebra, and 8th grade Algebra, with a handful of 8th grade students completing Geometry before they graduate from Woodside School. While a small percentage of capable 8th grade students have completed Geometry in 8th grade, the goal has always been to have all of the 8th grade students complete Algebra I by the time they graduate from Woodside School.
Middle School Common Core Mathematics StandardsTop of Page
With the new Common Core guidelines, public Middle Schools are implementing new mathematics trajectories for students so that the Common Core mathematics classes can be completed. Students must now complete the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Common Core mathematics classes before completing the Algebra I and Geometry Common Core courses. This means that in order for graduating 8th grade students to complete Algebra I and be eligible for Geometry in the 9th grade, they must now take four courses of mathematics in their three Middle School years. Furthermore, in order for a small, qualified group of 8th grade students to complete Geometry and be eligible for Algebra II in the 9th grade, they must now take five courses of mathematics in their three Middle School years.
The Common Core content standards are intended to have may positive results. They will increase the rigor in the classroom and better prepare students for High School, College, and career readiness. In addition, the Common Core content standards will lead to the development of higher order thinking skills, problem solving, and logical and mathematical reasoning. Finally, students must use accurate and precise computational skills to solve real-world problems by applying their knowledge of mathematics.
The Woodside School District’s Middle School math pathways allow for all Middle School students to be ability-grouped into one of four sections at each grade level. By using assessment results to group students together into homogenous ability-groups, the sections will be able to move at different speeds and levels of depth. In addition, all sections will have small class sizes that average roughly 8-12 students per section.
It is important to note that the curriculum that we use, the Big Ideas Math series, is an accelerated math program. All Woodside School 6th-8th grade students are accelerated to finish Algebra I by the time they graduate Woodside School.
All 6th grade students will by ability-grouped into four sections, and all of the sections will complete the first book in the Big Ideas Math series. This means that all 6th grade students will complete 6th/7A grade Common Core math.
The vast majority of 6th grade students will then go on to take 7B/8th grade Common Core math in 7th grade. These students would then take Algebra I Common Core during their 8th grade year and enter their 9th grade year positioned to take Geometry. In addition, incoming Sequoia Union High School District 9th grade students have the opportunity to take a compacted Geometry course over the summer after their 8th grade year so that they can then take Algebra II/Trigonometry during their 9th grade year.
All 6th grade students will have the opportunity to challenge themselves by completing the 7th grade curriculum outside of the classroom through a combination of self-paced instruction using the online Redbird Advanced Learning Curriculum and an intense teacher-led course that guides students through the 8th grade Common Core standards. Students who elect to participate in this extension course will commit to one additional hour of mathematics homework each night from May through the end of the school year.
6th grade students who select to participate in this intense advancement opportunity must successfully complete the online Redbird program, the intense teacher-led course, and score high enough on the MDTP Algebra Readiness assessment to then be eligible to take Algebra I Common Core during their 7th grade year. Because Algebra I Common Core is so important, an entire year must be dedicated to it. This small group of students would then take Geometry during their 8th grade year. This will allow the most advanced students who have repeatedly shown their understanding of mathematics to take Algebra II/Trigonometry during their 9th grade year.
6th grade students who do not participate in the acceleration or who do not score high enough on the MDTP Algebra Readiness assessment will take the 7B/8th grade Common Core course in 7th grade and Algebra I Common Core in 8th grade. They will then be eligible to take Geometry in the summer after their 8th grade year in order to take Algebra II/Trigonometry during their 9th grade year.
Most 7th grade students will take 7B/8th grade Common Core math, the second class in the Big Ideas series. A small group of students who completed the requirements will take Algebra I Common Core. Students are placed into the ability-grouped sections based upon the results of several assessments, including the grade level Smarter Balanced test, MARS assessment, and math grades.
Most 8th grade students will take Algebra I Common Core math. A small group of students who completed Algebra I Common Core in the 7th grade will take Geometry in the 8th grade. Students are placed into the ability-grouped sections based upon the results of several assessments, including the grade level Smarter Balanced test, MARS assessment, and math grades.
To qualify for an advanced section, students must display proficiency in all facets of not only the current grade level math but proficiency for readiness in advanced mathematics. Students who wish to progress at an advanced level must show advanced proficiency in multiple assessments, including the MARS test, the Smarter Balanced test, and advanced grade level assessments. Only students who show repeated aptitude for advanced mathematics will be allowed to accelerate. The math team and administration will not allow students who fail to test at advanced levels to accelerate.
The Middle School mathematics team and Administration used the 2014-2015 school year to pilot two sets of mathematics materials. We spent the first half of the school year using the Digits program by Pearson and the last half of the school year using the Big Ideas Math program by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The math teachers and Administration decided to adopt the Big Ideas Math program.
Big Ideas Math offers a more traditional textbook that is Common Core aligned. In addition, the program is designed for advanced levels. Specifically, this means that there are two textbooks for the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Common Core courses. The first course covers the 6th grade and first half of 7th grade Common Core standards. The second course covers the second half of the 7th grade and all of the 8th grade Common Core standards. As stated earlier, the goal is for all 6th and 7th grade students to complete the two textbooks (all three years of 6th-8th grade Common Core standards) by the end of the 7th grade. This allows 8th grade students to complete the Algebra I Common Core class by the time they graduate from Woodside School.
In addition to the Big Ideas Math program, Woodside School offers students the opportunity to extend their mathematics learning through the online Redbird Advanced Learning Curriculum. In conjunction with Stanford University, the Redbird Curriculum offers students the latest in adaptive instruction, gamification, and digital project-based learning.