Course Pathways & Recommendations

The secondary course pathways provide students with multiple entry points to more accelerated curriculum, recognizing that students develop in various ways at different rates. The pathways ensure all students have access to courses on or above grade level. Each year students are re-evaluated and recommended for their next course on the basis of variety of data points related to math content knowledge, mathematical reasoning, and readiness.


MS MATH PLACEMENT FOR SY 2020-2021:

Please see the letters below (one for rising 6th graders and one for rising 7th and 8th graders) for information regarding MS Math Placement for the 2020-2021 school year.  Additional translations of these letters will be available soon.  


Rising 6th Graders Math Placement SY 21

Rising 6th Graders Math Placement SY21 SPANISH


Rising 7th and 8th Graders Math Placement SY 21

Rising 7th and 8th Graders Math Placement SY 21 SPANISH


Questions about MS Math Placement for SY21?

MS Math Placement SY 21 FAQs

MS Math Placement SY 21 FAQs (SPANISH)


Secondary Math Pathways:

Middle School Math Pathways                 Middle School Math Pathways SPANISH

High School Math Pathways                    High School Math Pathways SPANISH


Assessments Used to Determine 6th Grade Math Course Recommendation

In 2016 the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) redeveloped mathematics standards which were fully implemented in the Fall of 2018. There is a greater emphasis on the process goals, a conceptual understanding of mathematics, and multiple ways to problem solve as well as facility with multiple representations of content.  VDOE also redefined Algebra Readiness: ““Algebra readiness” describes the mastery of, and the ability to apply, the Mathematics Standards of Learning, including the Mathematical Process Goals for Students, for kindergarten through grade 8.”

Each June, a team of experienced math educators meets to determine mathematics course recommendations for rising sixth grade students.  The team considers multiple measures linked to students’ knowledge of content, reasoning ability, and readiness for instruction.  This data is considered in conjunction with the current math performance assessment rating from the elementary school staff.  The recommendation is shared with the final report card of the year along with information about how to contact the middle school staff to discuss the recommendation in greater detail.

Content – Measures of students’ content knowledge of Virginia’s Mathematics standards

  • Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) Grade 4 & Grade 5 Scores

Additional information about the Virginia Standards of Learning for Mathematics  and testing can be found here.

Reasoning – Measures of students’ reasoning ability in the areas linked to academic success in school

  • Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT)
    • Quantitative score
    • Nonverbal score

APS administers the CogAT to all fourth graders each school year.  The test is divided into three sub-tests:  Verbal, Non-Verbal, and Quantitative.  For math placement recommendations, two of the three sub-test scores are used.

The Resource Teacher for the Gifted (RTG) at each child’s elementary site can provide additional information about CogAT.  RTG contacts information by school can be found here:  https://www.apsva.us/gifted-services/

Readiness – Measure of students’ readiness to learn different math concepts and skills

  • Arlington Tiered System of Support (ATSS) Math Inventory Quantile score*

*One of the measures, the students’ Quantile score, is determined using the school division’s universal screener, Math Inventory.  It is a brief classroom-based adaptive assessment that is designed to evaluate students’ readiness to learn different math concepts and skills.  The team uses the Quantile score to help determine what mathematics course each student is ready to tackle next.

Additional information about ATSS can be found here:  https://www.apsva.us/student-services/arlington-tiered-system-of-support-atss/

Additional information about Math Inventory can be found here.

Many strong math students will be recommended for Math 6. These students will spend a year in Math 6 in order to gain a solid mathematics foundation, as outlined by the new 2016 curriculum, before potentially receiving a compacted curriculum the following year. The new grade 6 standards include content that was historically taught in higher level math courses.

Students recommended for Math 6 might be better served in a compacted curriculum in 7th grade.  Students who take Pre-Algebra for 7th Graders (7/8) in 7th grade are still on a pathway that can lead to Intensified Algebra in 8th grade and AP Calculus BC in high school. There are also measures in place for students to take Algebra in 8th grade without taking a compacted curriculum (Pre-Algebra for 7th Graders (7/8)) in 7th grade.


Assessments Used to Determine 7th & 8th Grade Math Course Recommendations

Each June, a countywide team of mathematics specialists, teachers, counselors, and administrators meet to determine mathematics course recommendations for rising 7th and 8th grade students.  The team considers multiple measures, including:

  • Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) score
    • Additional information about the Virginia Standards of Learning for Mathematics  and testing can be found here.
  • Arlington Tiered System of Support (ATSS) Math Inventory Quantile scores
  • Grades
  • Teacher recommendation

*One of the measures, the students’ Quantile score, is determined using the school division’s universal screener, Math Inventory.  It is a brief classroom-based adaptive assessment that is designed to evaluate students’ readiness to learn different math concepts and skills.  The team uses the Quantile score to help determine what mathematics course each student is ready to tackle next.

Additional information about ATSS can be found https://www.apsva.us/student-services/arlington-tiered-system-of-support-atss/

Additional information about Math Inventory can be found here.