Math Placement Criteria for Gr 6 to Gr 7

The process for math placement for seventh grade takes the entire sixth grade year and involves several instruments. The purpose of this page is to acquaint you with these instruments, to provide you with the benchmarks which we use for placement, and to invite you to a meeting to answer any questions you may have regarding the sixth grade curriculum and math placement at CMS. The math department also feels it is important to include a general description of a student in each course. These characteristics are:

Directed: Pre-algebra

Students can follow a model given concrete examples and experiences. They demonstrate proficiency with previous topics after considerable review. The course provides explicit instruction in reading the text and in how to use resources. Extensive class time is spent processing homework. The focus is on extensive practice and activities which extend and refine concepts.

Guided: Pre-algebra

Students can follow a model and can reach an abstract level of understanding with guidance. They can assimilate and reproduce ideas in variations of problem solving situations already experienced. Students demonstrate consistent facility with computational skills. The course provides students with background information so that they are able to read the text with understanding. Moderate class time is spent processing homework. Students are regularly asked to apply concepts to new situations. A test/quiz average of 70 or better must be maintained.

Independent: Pre-algebra

Students readily grasp new concepts and relate those concepts to other situations. Possessing excellent computational skills, they have insights into complex relationships and see patterns beyond expectations. They demonstrate enthusiasm for the subject and are comfortable with an increasing level of abstraction and difficulty. Students are regularly asked to read sections of the text to preview the next class. A minimal amount of class time is spent processing homework. Students are often asked to apply concepts to novel situations in both class exercises and in assessments. A test/quiz average of 80 or better must be maintained.

We use four instruments in determining placement. They are listed in order of importance.

Concord Middle School Prognosis Test: weighted once

This instrument provides short explanations followed by examples in the areas of Order of Operations, Percents, Number Theory, Integers, Rational Numbers, Geometry, computation, logical thinking, algebraic thinking, and problem solving. It then asks short answer questions on the topic that can be complex and/or abstract. The hour long test is usually given over two days in late March. No calculators are used.

Test Average: weighted once

The test averages for each term are considered as well as the overall test average. The reasons for giving modified tests are taken into consideration for placement. (Students taking modified tests are not automatically placed in the directed level.) Modified tests are generally more specific in content and do not refer to the conditions under which a student took a test (extra time, in learning center).

Continental Mathematics League Contests (CML): weighted once

Three contests are given between the months of November through March. Each consists of six non-routine problems which are to be solved in 30 minutes without the aid of a calculator, ruler, protractor or graph paper. Students may use any method they like and are required only to give an answer. These challenges appeal to students who do the work in their heads and have difficulty explaining their process in writing. All students benefit from the sharing of strategies when the contests are reviewed in class. Contests from previous years routinely used throughout the year.

New England Math League Contest: weighted one-half

This is a 30 minute, 40 question multiple choice contest given in March. Calculators are allowed. The items cover computation, geometry, interpreting graphs, and problem solving.

Sixth grade math students who meet the Grade 8 Independent criteria below may be asked to take the American Mathematics Competition to be considered for the independent level algebra, an eighth grade course, in the seventh grade. The AMC8 is given every November to seventh and eighth grade students. The test may be given to exemplary sixth graders in May. All other criteria would indicate that these students would be placed in grade 7 independent.

The chart below provides the benchmarks used to place students in the seventh grade.  In some cases, a student’s level may be changed within their current grade during the school year, according to their current classroom performance. If a student exhibits superior classroom and assessment performance in their current class, it may be possible for them to move to a more rigorous level in that grade. Superior assessment performance will be determined by four successive scores of 95 or above, not including the first two assessments of the year. In the third term, these scores need to be accompanied by a placement in that more rigorous level for the next year as determined by the year-end placement process using the grid below.  That student would then be allowed to take the unit assessments of the next level, in addition to their own classroom assessment, to determine their readiness. If a student’s assessment average drops below an 80 in the most advanced level, or below a 70 in others, parents / guardians will be notified as to a possible need to move that student to a less rigorous level. 

Instrument Directed Guided Independent Gr8 Independent
CMS Prognosis (raw score) Up to 12 12-26 24 or Above 40 or above
CML (%) Up to 35% 30-65% Above 60% 80% or Above
NEML (raw score) up to 18 16-25 23-40 37 or Above
AMC8 (raw score) NA NA NA 15-25
Test average* (%) Current math placement 
If Directed Then Up to 95 92 or Above
If Guided Then Up to 75 72-95 93 or Above
If Independent Then Up to 86 83 or Above 98-100


*Ranges for test average are based on the student’s current placement.