Our goal at Woodside Upper School is to inspire students to be confident problem solvers to ensure that all students meet or exceed the California Common Core mathematics standards which can be found here. This philosophy is predicated on the belief that proficiency in mathematics is a result of sustained effort and effective teacher instruction. All students are capable of understanding mathematics, given the opportunities and encouragement to do so.
Students must 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 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 take five courses of mathematics in their three Middle School years.
The Common Core content standards are intended to have many 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 Upper School math pathways allow for all Upper 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 6-14 students per section.
It is important to note that the curriculum that we use, the Big Ideas Math series, is an accelerated math program. It is imperative that students demonstrate sustained effort and proficiency in foundational math skills before moving on to Algebra 1. For this reason students will have the opportunity to choose a further accelerated math course by completing assessments to show they are ready to succeed in Algebra 1.
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.
All 6th grade students will have the opportunity to challenge themselves and accelerate further by completing the pre-algebra curriculum through the 90% completion of a self-paced, web-based online program during the third trimester of the 6th grade year. Students who elect to participate in this extension course will commit to up to one additional hour of mathematics homework each night from March through the end of the school year.
6th grade students who select to participate in this intense advancement opportunity must successfully complete the designated online program and show proficiency on each of the strands on the MDTP Algebra Readiness assessment. Students are then eligible to complete and must also show proficiency on three 8th grade MARS tasks. 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.
6th grade students who do not participate in the further acceleration or who do not complete the requirements needed for further acceleration will take the 7B/8th grade Common Core course in 7th grade.
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 a variety of factors, including but not limited to the grade level Smarter Balanced test, MARS assessments, and math grades.
It is imperative that students demonstrate sustained effort and proficiency in foundational math skills before moving on to Algebra 1. For this reason, in trimester three, students will have the opportunity to choose if they would like to accelerate into Algebra 1 as an eighth grader. A letter will be sent home for students and parents to discuss if this is the correct path for them. Seventh grade students who wish to accelerate into Algebra 1 as 8th graders will need to score high enough on the MDTP Algebra Readiness assessment at the end of trimester three. A passing score on the Algebra Readiness assessment is showing proficiency in all topics that are tested. If a student does not score high enough on the Algebra Readiness assessment but still wishes to move into Algebra 1 as an eighth grader they can complete 90% of a self-paced, web-based online pre-algebra curriculum over summer. Students who complete at least 90% of this online pre-algebra curriculum will have a second opportunity to show proficiency in all topics of the Algebra Readiness test during the first week of school.
There are three course offerings in 8th grade; 8th Grade Common Core, Algebra 1 and Geometry. It is important to note that no matter which course your child takes, they feel successful in math. The goal is for students to feel challenged at an appropriate level without feeling overwhelmed; we believe that math is about depth of understanding. The 8th grade common core class is a pre-algebra curriculum in which half of the standards covered are the same as the standards in an Algebra 1 class. Most students will take 8th Grade Common Core. Students who demonstrate proficiency and mastery of foundational skills on the Algebra Readiness Assessment will take Algebra 1 in 8th grade. A small group of students who completed Algebra I in the 7th grade will take Geometry in the 8th grade.
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 a repeated aptitude for advanced mathematics will be allowed to accelerate. The math team and administration will not allow students who fail to show complete mastery of the curriculum to accelerate.