Course Placement Info - 8th Graders
We take our responsibility to make course placement recommendations very seriously, and as much as possible, we want you to understand the values we embrace and the procedures we follow in making placement recommendations. If you have questions, please call the Hinsdale South High School Department Chair who supervises the placement process for the courses in each academic area.
Student Placement in Courses
We place students in courses because we believe that students learn best when they are appropriately challenged, they feel comfortable being an active member of the class, and they can achieve in a way that maintains their confidence. We value having curriculum available that provides students with the most appropriate transition to college studies. For students who may be working below grade level when they enter high school, we value providing them with supportive settings focused on additional time for skill development in order to accelerate their learning.
We make placement decisions with the goal of best serving each student over his or her four-year career at Hinsdale South High School. We do so with a commitment to expanding opportunities for students, not to restrict access to opportunities. Therefore, we revisit placements at least annually throughout a student’s four years to be sure that the student is taking courses at the highest level where he/she can be successful.
Sources of Information for Placement Decisions
To place students appropriately, we will use our best professional judgment based upon multiple sources of information. Initial placement decisions are based on performance on the MAP Test, current curriculum, our knowledge of the 9th grade curriculum, and our knowledge of how students with specific achievement profiles have performed in the 9th grade in prior years. Placement exams are also used for Level 2 World Language courses. Additional sources we value and will consider when collaborating with students and parents include 8th grade teacher feedback, skill evaluation tests and student work product, when needed.
Your student’s current school has shared MAP Test results with the high school. Students attending a private school took a MAP Test in mid-October at the high school. All data has been carefully reviewed by our core area Department Chairs as part of the course placement process.
MAP Test scores are reported somewhat differently from other tests. The overall scores on the test are reported in Rausch Units (RIT). The RIT scale score is designed to measure growth in instructional content. A RIT score has equal interval scales, like a ruler, independent of grade level or the age of a student and, therefore, it provides consistency over time.
The percentile score is used to compare one student’s scores or performance on the test to that of a larger, norm group. In this case, the norm group represents over one million MAP test scores from students across the United States. According to the MAP publishers, Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), “The percentile means that the student scored as well or better than that percent of students taking the test in his/her grade.”
All Hinsdale South Department Chairs have comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the curriculum in their departments. They know the optimal alignment between specific 8th grade achievement profiles and the knowledge and skills needed to perform successfully in the various courses offered.
8th Grade Teacher Assessment of Student Performance
When parents would like to consider a recommendation other than one indicated by a department chair, conversations with the 8th grade teacher will take place regarding student performance to gain insight into the students’ motivation, initiative, and work habits. Also, the 8th grade teacher can provide an assessment of the students’ reading, writing, speaking, critical thinking, discussion, and cooperation skills. The best predictor of future performance is current performance in similar circumstances.
Skill Evaluation Test
In some departments, students may be asked to take a test authored by Hinsdale South teachers (e.g., in Mathematics, World Language or English). Such a test would provide more specific information than the MAP Test and measure student readiness for specific high school courses.
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
For students receiving Special Education services, the student’s IEP is also a factor in determining course selection and performance-based, ability-group placement. If you have an IEP, but would like to request a higher placement than your initial placement as indicated on the course placement form, you MUST contact the content area Department Chair. Decisions about higher placements are not determined at an IEP meeting, only the types of supports needed in the classes students are placed into.
Special Note: If your student received any placement that has an * next to it, we highly encourage you to reach out to the department chair so that we can talk to you about the differences in the options available so that you are making an informed choice about your final selection when you meet with the counselor. If you do not agree with a placement, you MUST contact the department chair by December 9th to indicate your desire for a different course. The Department Chair and Administration will review the request and make a final determination. Counselors do not make decisions regarding a change to a higher level course and will register you for the class that you have been currently recommended for unless a change request has been approved. You do not need to submit a change request if you are choosing to move down a level. Counselors are able to make this type of change and you simply need to let them know when you meet to finalize course selections. The only exception to this is World Language placements- students can choose to select non-honors, but cannot move to a lower level course without Department Chair approval unless it is listed as an option. For example: a student cannot choose to take Spanish 1 if they were recommended for Spanish 2 without approval.