Middle school is a huge change for children. These students are between elementary and high school, which can be nerve-wracking for parents. The first step in this process is to complete a math placement test, which is usually done near the end of 5th grade to determine readiness for 6th grade math classes.
The middle school math placement test helps determine if your child will be placed at the appropriate grade level for their age and ability during 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade. The content of most middle school exams is generally the same, as most schools cover similar content. However, the actual exam and scoring range may differ from one school district to the next.
The middle school math placement test is developed for most school districts to determine whether students are ready for pre-algebra. Therefore, this exam tests a broad range of foundational math skills and principles. Generally speaking, you can expect the following content to be covered in a middle school math placement test:
- Exponents and properties of real numbers
- Integers and evaluates expressions
- Understanding fractions
- Simplifying expressions and problem-solving for equations
- Ratio, proportion, and percent
- Word problems
- Inequalities and absolute value
- Graphing and transformations
- Functions and graphing
- Linear equations and functions
- Systems of linear equations and inequalities
- Exponents and polynomials
- Factoring and polynomials
- Rational expressions and equations
- Radical expressions and equations
- Quadratic equations and functions
- Introduction to geometry
- Angle pairs and perpendicular lines
- Parallel lines and polygons
- Triangles and congruence
- Right triangles
- Measurement and area
- Data and statistics
- Coordinate geometry
- Negative and rational exponents
As you can see, the depth and breadth of the middle school math placement test can be pretty comprehensive. And within each of these topics, students are expected to be able to complete multiple tasks of varying complexity successfully. Additionally, students should demonstrate:
- The ability to develop proficiency in mathematical reasoning.
- The ability to communicate mathematical ideas using language and with the appropriate mathematical terminology.
- The ability to connect mathematical concepts to other disciplines, including language arts.
- The ability to represent mathematical ideas in multiple ways, such as through equations, graphs, tables, diagrams, using words, etc.
- Proficiency in applying math knowledge and skills to solve problems they have never seen before, using critical thinking skills and operations with rational numbers.
Given the level of expectations for the middle school math placement test, it’s no wonder that many parents are anxious before their child takes this exam. Moreover, these parents may wonder how best to help their students prepare for the test.
One of the best ways to help students prepare for the middle school placement test is to leverage online resources.
There are many practice tests available to help parents assess their child’s understanding of the current math curriculum and the topics that will be covered on the exam. This can help parents determine if their child is on track and identify any areas of weakness.
If parents would like to boost their child’s level of understanding in any given area, they can watch online tutorials for any of the subjects. Then, they can help their child complete the related questions on the practice exam. This can help improve their math scores significantly.
However, even if your child aces the exam, parents should consider other factors before pushing for advanced placement. In addition to content, student interest in advanced mathematics is vital for continued success. Advanced classes often include more rigorous and demanding work, which may require additional encouragement and parental support.
Students usually take this exam toward the end of sixth grade. Parents may want to work with their children throughout the school year to ensure they are making progress and understanding the math curriculum. If there is a need for additional practice or tutoring, the child can then work throughout the year to increase their comprehension of the required math concepts.
How to Help Your Child Do Well on the Middle School Math Placement Test
All parents want their children to do well on an exam. Placement exams need to correctly identify where your child stands in their math skills. And students should get familiar with taking placement exams, as they can start as early as 2nd grade. Therefore, students and parents may want to be less concerned with doing well and instead focus on identifying which mathematical concepts the child understands and which they do not.
The exam results can then place the student in the correct grade level and math courses. If it is more advanced than their current understanding, students will struggle. If it is not advanced enough, the student may become easily bored with the subject matter.
However, if you want to help your student prepare so that they are less apprehensive about the exam, there are several excellent strategies, such as:
- Work with their current educators. Your child’s current teacher may be the best person to identify difficult or easy areas for your child. You can schedule extra meetings to help determine which topics may require additional study time.
- Use practice tests. Many students may understand concepts very well but still perform poorly on exams. This is because practice tests don’t just help students get exposure to specific material; they can also help students become more comfortable with testing. These assessment tests can also help parents identify areas where students must focus their study efforts.
- Work with a tutor. Accessing a tutor is easier and more affordable. Online tutoring programs can help students who don’t pick up a concept quickly. By walking through the problems together, online tutoring can reinforce classroom work. Some online services offer personalized instruction.
- Study with your child. It’s no secret that students with engaged parents often do better academically. Spending time with them on their homework can make a huge difference in their exam results.
The middle school math placement test can cause anxiety for parents and students alike. However, these tips can help your child learn better and get a better test score on the exam!