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Math average for each grade level


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#1 joannqn

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:17 PM

Does anyone know what kind of math would be considered average (50th percentile) for each grade level in high school?

In my mind, 9th graders would be doing algebra, 10th graders would be doing geometry, 11th graders trig, and 12th graders precalculus. I'd expect advanced students to be a year ahead of those.

Is this correct or is average lower than that?

#2 Jane in NC

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:44 PM

Not sure what you mean by average here. Perhaps you mean typical?

It is not unusual for 8th graders to do Algebra. Advanced students are actually doing Algebra in 7th (and a few even earlier). Many college bound students take Geometry in 9th, Algebra II/Trig in 10th, Precalc in 11th, and then either Statistics or Calculus in 12th. Most of the students we know in the public high schools take Algebra in 8th grade so I feel this is more common than unusual.

Here in NC, four years of Mathematics is required for applicants to the UNC system. Not every state university system shares this requirement.

Maybe Creekland who is a substitute teacher in a PA public school can weigh in with what is typical at her school.

#3 joannqn

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:47 PM

I'm looking for what kind of math would a student scoring in the 50th percentile on a standardized test would be taking.

#4 Jane in NC

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:50 PM

I'm looking for what kind of math would a student scoring in the 50th percentile on a standardized test would be taking.


Oh I see. I would have no way of knowing this.

The standardized test results that are published for my state are for End of Grade scores in Algebra--not for the CAT5 or IBTS. Is that the sort of test you are referencing?

#5 Jann in TX

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 02:56 PM

That would be Algebra 1 in 9th

Geometry 10th

Algebra 2 in 11th

Pre-Calc in 12th

In our district only the top 10% of 8th graders are in Algebra 1-- even then 20% of those will repeat it in 9th grade.

I personally prefer the AVERAGE student not take Algebra 1 until 9th... I've seen too many younger AVERAGE students crash and burn....

#6 Trilliums

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 03:24 PM

Does anyone know what kind of math would be considered average (50th percentile) for each grade level in high school?

In my mind, 9th graders would be doing algebra, 10th graders would be doing geometry, 11th graders trig, and 12th graders precalculus. I'd expect advanced students to be a year ahead of those.

Is this correct or is average lower than that?


This is what I think of as the average progression. But, I think many kids who score higher than the 50th percentile follow that progression, leading me to wonder if at the 50th percentile students would be taking pre-alg in 9th grade.

#7 EKS

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 06:29 PM

50th percentile would be prealgebra for all grades (I'm not kidding). At least, that is the level they're understanding. What the average student is taking (and this takes into account *all* students, not just college bound ones) might be a year of algebra and geometry. College bound is a completely different story.

#8 EKS

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 06:35 PM

I'm looking for what kind of math would a student scoring in the 50th percentile on a standardized test would be taking.


My 4th grade son took the MAP test in the fall. At that point he had had the briefest introduction to prealgebra (as well as Singapore 1-6A). He scored slightly *above* the 50th percentile for 11th graders in the spring.

The MAP is a test given on the computer that adjusts itself to the test taker. So a kid answers questions that get harder and harder until he can't answer any more. So in this case, my son took an equivalent test to an average 11th grader.

But what a kid is taking may be different from what he is understanding.

#9 EKS

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 06:52 PM

Oh I see. I would have no way of knowing this.

The standardized test results that are published for my state are for End of Grade scores in Algebra--not for the CAT5 or IBTS. Is that the sort of test you are referencing?


There are tables for the MAP test. You can figure out what percentile your kid is compared to every other grade as well as what score is at the 50th percentile for each grade.

So, for example (these are all for the end of the year):

99th percentile for 4th grade corresponds to 69th percentile for 11th grade and also corresponds to 68th percentile for a kid who took Algebra I, 46th percentile for a kid who took geometry, and 46th percentile for a kid who took Algebra II. I think the leveling effect that you see with geometry and Algebra II is that kids are weeded out before geometry combined with the ceiling of the test.

For the rest of these, I'll use this shorthand: percentile for 11th grade/Algebra I percentile/geometry percentile/Algebra II percentile (so for the numbers above it would be 69/68/46/46).

99th percentile in 5th grade: 85/86/70/71
99th percentile in 6th grade: 91/91/83/84
99th percentile in 7th grade: 96/97/93/94

#10 Heigh Ho

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 06:58 PM

It would depend on the neighborhood.

There is no 9th grade prealgebra here - unclassified students who did poorly in 8th math, but were promoted to 9th will be sent on to either double period Integrated Algebra 1, single period half speed I. Algebra 1, and will probably have another period of academic support to make up gaps.

Nationwide, the NAEP survey for 2011 reported 34% taking alg 1 as a one year course in 8th grade. (see ed.gov)

Edited by Heigh Ho, 21 March 2012 - 07:09 PM.


#11 SuperDad

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 07:31 PM

What I've always thought of as standard is Algebra 1 in 9th, Geometry in 10th, Algebra 2 in 11th, Precalculus in 12th. Trigonometry is incorporated into Geometry, Algebra 2, and/or Precalculus.

In our district, what I've listed above is the standard. Trig is taught in precalculus, except for the magnet school, where it's taught in Algebra 2. Advanced kids who take Algebra 1 in 8th grade take Calculus in 12th. Even-more advanced kids who take Algebra 1 in 7th grade take Calculus in 11th. Math isn't required in 12th, but I believe there are some options offered. I haven't really looked into it.

In my opinion, math is a subject where kids MUST be grouped by learning ability, aptitude, and style. IMO, the majority of average kids would be better off spending K-5 on arithmetic and number sense, 6-8 on prealgebra and discrete maths, and all of high school learning the typical prealgebra, algebra 1, discrete maths, and geometry material. That, along with personal finance/economics, is really all the math they'll need in day-to-day life, and is really all the math they can be reasonably expected to fully understand and be able to apply. Only the kids who are advanced in math, and/or love it, and/or are considering a STEM career need go on to learn higher maths.

#12 AngieW in Texas

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 07:34 PM

Average is
9th algebra I
10th geometry
11th algebra II
12th precalculus (sometimes called analysis and trigonometry, sometimes called algebra 3 and trigonometry)

advanced is
9th geometry
10th algebra II
11th precalculus
12th calculus I

#13 joannqn

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 07:45 PM

My 4th grade son took the MAP test in the fall. At that point he had had the briefest introduction to prealgebra (as well as Singapore 1-6A). He scored slightly *above* the 50th percentile for 11th graders in the spring.


That fits with what I finally was able to find.

In Washington, you meet the graduation requirements for math if you score a certain number on the state's test, a 470 on the math SAT, or get two credits after 10th grade. Next year, they are increasing the requirements to passing either the algebra 1 or geometry end of year test. In 2014, graduation will require passing both the algebra and geometry end of year tests. I never realized graduation requirements were so low.

I would have never guessed that average for 11th grade was the beginning of prealgebra.

DS just scored in the 97th percentile for 11th grade for math. We haven't gone past algebra, and I was trying to figure out how that could be so high since I thought average 11th graders would know geometry and trig.

#14 klmama

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 10:38 PM

I think you may be misunderstanding what the score means. Most standardized tests that mention grade equivalents explain that a score of 11th grade on a section of the test simply means that the student scored as well on that material as one would expect an 11th grader to score on that material. That doesn't mean that an 11th grader wouldn't also know a lot more, nor does it imply that the younger student is ready for 11th grade work.

#15 Element

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:00 PM

DS just scored in the 97th percentile for 11th grade for math. We haven't gone past algebra, and I was trying to figure out how that could be so high since I thought average 11th graders would know geometry and trig.


That's great! I agree, though. I would expect 11th graders to know trig. :confused:

I went to a small, rural school in the mid '90s. Our sequence was similar to what you mentioned: Algebra I, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calc. The advanced kids took Algebra in 8th, followed by the HS sequence: Geometry, Trig, Pre-Calc, Calc. We didn't have anything like Stats and none of us had never even heard of AP.

#16 EKS

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 11:02 PM

I think you may be misunderstanding what the score means. Most standardized tests that mention grade equivalents explain that a score of 11th grade on a section of the test simply means that the student scored as well on that material as one would expect an 11th grader to score on that material. That doesn't mean that an 11th grader wouldn't also know a lot more, nor does it imply that the younger student is ready for 11th grade work.


Just for clarification, all of the examples I've given for the MAP test are not like this. The MAP test adjusts itself to the student and will keep giving questions until the student can't answer any more. It is like an individual achievement test (like the WJ-III) in that way.

#17 Heigh Ho

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 07:53 AM

That fits with what I finally was able to find.

In Washington, you meet the graduation requirements for math if you score a certain number on the state's test, a 470 on the math SAT, or get two credits after 10th grade. Next year, they are increasing the requirements to passing either the algebra 1 or geometry end of year test. In 2014, graduation will require passing both the algebra and geometry end of year tests. I never realized graduation requirements were so low.

I would have never guessed that average for 11th grade was the beginning of prealgebra.

DS just scored in the 97th percentile for 11th grade for math. We haven't gone past algebra, and I was trying to figure out how that could be so high since I thought average 11th graders would know geometry and trig.


The average 11th grader here would know geo and but would not be done with trig, as the state phased in algebra for all several years ago. There are no general math courses; the student is either in a bridge course or the real thing in the college prep sequence if he's taking a math class. I would guess that some of the 11th graders taking your state test haven't had a math class in a year, and needed to brush up a little better on the algebra and prealgebra topics they haven't seen lately. What percent of students scored at the 97th percentile or better?

Edited by Heigh Ho, 22 March 2012 - 07:55 AM.


#18 EKS

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:30 AM

That's great! I agree, though. I would expect 11th graders to know trig. :confused:


College bound 11th graders, yes. Average 11th graders, no.

#19 joannqn

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:49 AM

I think you may be misunderstanding what the score means. Most standardized tests that mention grade equivalents explain that a score of 11th grade on a section of the test simply means that the student scored as well on that material as one would expect an 11th grader to score on that material. That doesn't mean that an 11th grader wouldn't also know a lot more, nor does it imply that the younger student is ready for 11th grade work.


That's not how this test is. It adjust the level of difficulty based on how the child answers. He was answering algebra, geometry, and trig questions once it ascertained that he knew the earlier stuff.

#20 EKS

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 11:04 AM

That's not how this test is. It adjust the level of difficulty based on how the child answers. He was answering algebra, geometry, and trig questions once it ascertained that he knew the earlier stuff.


So he took the MAP?

#21 joannqn

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:52 PM

So he took the MAP?


Yes.


I was just confused because I thought 11th graders would be doing trig, not algebra. The scores make sense now.

#22 EKS

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:12 PM

Do you have access to the score tables (2011 norms)?

#23 joannqn

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:22 PM

Do you have access to the score tables (2011 norms)?


No, I have the 2008 normative table. I've asked for the 2011 normative study. If I get it, I'll let you know.

I do know where to find some of the information, like the 2011 median scores and what is considered high and low but that's it.

#24 wapiti

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:35 PM

FWIW, when ds took the MAP last September, his RIT score would have been something like 49th percentile for 8th graders. However, he was at the start of 3rd grade and had not had any instruction much beyond early 5th gr math. I recall him being mad because he hadn't known before the test that the dot symbolized multiplication, lol. So, based on his test results, I'd say that the 50th percentile is not where I'd look for what sort of instruction average students would be getting for that grade level.

Somewhere there is correlation between RIT scores and instruction topics. Try this site and maybe this site

The 2011 norms are here

#25 joannqn

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:45 PM

Cool! That's what I just asked for but only got part of. The scores seem to have gone down in 2011 when compared to 2008.

#26 EKS

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:57 PM

No, I have the 2008 normative table. I've asked for the 2011 normative study. If I get it, I'll let you know.

I do know where to find some of the information, like the 2011 median scores and what is considered high and low but that's it.


I have the 2011 tables. The study was posted online for a few weeks and then they took it down but I managed to save it to my computer.

If you want, I can look at my tables and tell you anything you want to know.

#27 joannqn

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:58 PM

I downloaded and saved it from the link wapati posted.

#28 EKS

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:01 PM

I downloaded and saved it from the link wapati posted.


Oh good, they do exist online! I went back to find them several times because I wanted to send the link to people and never was able to. I'll bookmark that link!


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