When you are looking to start your child on a math curriculum, it can be difficult to know what grade or level to start them, especially if math isn’t a strong subject. Most homeschooling parents realize that their child is at a different developmental level depending on the subject. While this is completely normal, this is also where math placement tests come in handy. If you find yourself overwhelmed with choosing the proper level of math for your child, keep reading to learn what, why, and how math placement tests can help you find the perfect curriculum level.
What are placement tests?
In a nutshell, a placement test is an assessment designed to evaluate a child’s preexisting knowledge about a particular subject. In this case, a math placement test would examine what a child knows about a variety of math concepts. Although placement tests are good to use, they are just one factor in deciding where to place students. Parents and educators should not base their placements solely on scores.
Why do a placement test?
Placement tests can be used for several reasons, one which we already identified – to help understand what a child knows (or doesn’t know) about specific math concepts. Another reason to do a placement test is so you can meet the individual and unique needs of your child. Most children struggle with math because concepts they did not fully grasp are looked over and then more is put on top of it.
Two important factors that placement tests can show are how students worked the problems and where they had trouble. For example, a student might do computation correctly but struggle with word problems. This is a common issue and can be addressed through use of a supplement such as Process Skills. Using this method can help to bring students up to speed on word problems without having to do all of a previous level.
How to Do a Placement Test
Placement tests are specific to the curriculum you will be using. The curriculum usually states some instructions on using the placement tests as well.
First and foremost, always remember there is no “pass” or “fail” when it comes to taking a placement test. The test is only to see where your child should begin with learning new mathematical concepts. With Singapore Mathematics, the tests have been conveniently broken down according to grade, and then further down into “semesters”. For example, what you’ll see for grade 1 is Dimensions Math 1A (or Primary Mathematics 1A). 1A is the material for the first half of the year. 1B is the material for the second half of the year.
If you’re unsure what grade your child is in for math, start with their current grade level. Here is an example for a 2nd grade child:
If a student successfully completes 2A (or the first part of their 2nd grade year), then they have likely mastered the material in 2A, and should take the 2B placement test to see if they have mastered that material. If they do poorly on the 2B test, they could start with 2B. If they do well on the 2B test, they could take the 3A test to see if they have mastered that material.
The placement tests are not meant to be timed; however, you can be prepared by setting aside at least an hour per test. Prepare your child by letting them know they will take a test. Locate the correct test from this list and print it off. Gather any necessary materials (pencils, erasers, crayons, etc.) and put them with the printed test.
Be sure your child has a distraction-free area to complete their test, such as a table and/or room that is clean and quiet. Clearly communicate the instructions and provide them with ample time to take the test. Remind your child to try and answer every question, even if they don’t know the answer. Once they have completed the test, check their answers, and configure the percentage they got correct. This number will help determine what level of Singapore math they should start.
Where to find placement tests for the Singapore Math Curriculum.
Singapore Math Inc has made it pretty easy to test at every single level they offer up to grade 5. If your child has completed any Grade 5 program start with Dimensions Math 6. If your child has finished any Grade 6 program, with solid understanding, start with Dimensions Math 7.
However, if your child struggled with a Grade 6 program, start with Dimensions Math 6. Together, Dimensions Math 7 and 8 constitute a solid pre-algebra and algebra 1 program, with some geometry and other topics. If your child has done a pre-algebra program, review the Scope and Sequence for Dimensions Math 7. If there are any topics they did not cover in their pre-algebra program, or if they struggled at all, consider starting with Dimensions Math 7 to cover those topics. Even if you don’t need to cover all the topics, they are not repeated in Dimensions Math 8. Otherwise, start with Dimensions Math 8.
You can find a list of Dimensions Math and Primary Mathematics placement tests here.
2. Math in Focus Placement Tests
We were able to find the placement tests for Math in Focus online. The links are listed below:
Review of Singapore Math Placement Tests by a Homeschool Mom
Michelle is a homeschooling mom of 5, with two of her children who took Dimensions KA and Primary Mathematics 6B placement tests.
“I particularly liked how easy the tests were to navigate and print. They are not very long and an hour is more than enough time for them to be taken. I only needed pencils and crayons (for my Kindergartener). I typically do not test my children so I was a little nervous about how they would do, but they didn’t seem stressed or overwhelmed at the idea of taking it. These tests align with the order in which concepts are typically taught in the U.S. which was a big plus. This helped me trust the results and confidently choose the correct Singapore Math curriculum. It feels good to know this program will work for my children and they’ll be starting at the appropriate level. Take the guesswork out for this busy mom!”
Related Post: Singapore Math Curriculum Comparison: Math in Focus Vs Primary Mathematics Vs Dimensions Math.
Singapore Math Learning Center
At Singapore Math Learning Center, we provide online tutoring and online courses to those who are using any Singapore Math curriculums or who are interested in the Singapore Math method. For a free math assessment, please contact us.