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Mountain View-Los Altos Union HSD |  BP  6152  Instruction

Class Assignment   

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9th Grade Mathematics Course Placement

The Board of Trustees recognizes that student achievement in mathematics is critical for preparing students for college and career, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). A student's 9th grade mathematics placement in particular is crucial to ensuring future educational success.

The Board of Trustees affirms that a fair, objective, and transparent mathematics placement protocol that strictly limits the use of subjective criteria in placement decisions will result in an appropriate 9th grade mathematics student placement.

Pursuant to California Education Code Section 260, the Board of Trustees has the primary responsibility for ensuring that school district programs and activities are free from discrimination based upon characteristics, including race and ethnicity. Because the Board of Trustees is responsible for ensuring that all students, regardless of race or ethnic background, receive an equal chance to advance in mathematics, the Board of Trustees desires to ensure that the District implements a fair, objective and transparent mathematics placement protocol.

The Board of Trustees therefore directs District staff to create, implement, and monitor a mathematics placement protocol that includes the following elements:

Reliance On Objective Determinations

Mathematics placement of 9th graders shall be based on objective measures. These measures may include:

* Diagnostic placement tests such as Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP) tests;

* Standardized tests, including from prior years;

* Student grades that reflect comprehension and mastery of the subject matter, from both semesters of the 7th and 8th grade year; and

* Other objective indicators of student performance and proficiency in mathematics

* In particular, students who receive passing scores on standardized mathematics tests and in their mathematics classes should automatically be placed in the next mathematics sequencing course when they enter ninth grade.

Limitation On The Use of Subjective Placement Measures

Subjective measures, such as placement recommendations, may not be considered in determining 9th grade mathematics placement, except as determined through the special education IEP process when applicable. However, recognizing that teachers, counselors, parents and students themselves are often aware of talents and abilities that are not reflected in objective data, an exception to this prohibition may be made to advance a student to a higher mathematics class than objective data indicate.

Timing Of Mathematics Placement Decisions And Parent/Student Notification

Placement decisions shall be made according to a timeline that allows for maximum use of current objective measures. Placement decisions shall be communicated in writing to parents/students prior to the start of the school year. The District's mathematics placement protocol shall be published in the parent/student handbook. The handbook shall also include a recourse plan developed by the District, for any parents/students who may be dissatisfied with a student's mathematics placement.

Implementation, Monitoring, And Accountability

District staff involved in placement decisions shall be properly trained on the protocol and its use. The protocol shall also include steps for ensuring that it is being followed in practice, including provisions for checking that each student is properly placed according to the protocol prior to the start of the school year. Any student found to be misplaced shall be promptly placed in the correct mathematics course.

The District's mathematics placement protocol shall be communicated to K-8 feeder/partner districts. The District shall work with its K-8 feeder/partner districts to make mathematics teachers and counselors at those schools aware of the placement protocol.

When MVLA counselors address eighth grade students or their parents, the counselors shall explain and emphasize the importance of having the students take the most rigorous high school mathematics courses for which they have qualified according to the placement protocol.

Board of Trustees Approval And Review

District staff shall report to the Board of Trustees on a regular basis while the placement protocol is being developed. When the protocol is finalized, District staff shall return to the Board of Trustees to seek approval of the protocol. Once approved, the protocol shall be prominently posted on the District's website and shall be made readily accessible to parents/students and administrators. District staff shall subsequently report to the Board of Trustees on implementation on an annual basis.

Legal References

Education Code

California Education Code Section 200

California Education Code Section 201

California Education Code Section 260

Government Code

California Government Code Sections 11135 et seq.

Court Cases

Serrano v. Priest, 18 Cal. 3d 728 (1976), cert. denied, Clowes v. Serrano, 432 U.S. 907 (1977) Butt v. State of California, 4 Cal. 4th 668 (1992)

California Constitution

Cal Const., Art. IX, Sec. 5

Federal Law 42 U.S.C. § 2000d (Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964); 34 C.F.R. § 100.3(b)(2)


adopted: October 12, 2015 Mountain View, California