Algebra Readiness FAQ

This page contains answers to commonly-asked questions about Algebra Readiness at Northshore School District. We regularly make additions to this page to reflect the needs of our parent community.

Which students are screened for algebra readiness?

5th grade students who were identified and participated in highly capable math programming for the current school year and all 6th and 7th grade students enrolled in their general math classes.

What assessments are used to determine algebra readiness?

For the 2018-19 school year, we will use the 8th grade ITBS math assessment and the prior school year’s Smarter Balanced math scores to determine readiness to take algebra coursework.

When and where will the ITBS assessment be administered?

The ITBS will be administered in late February or early March in their math classes by their math teacher.

What scores are needed for the ITBS and Smarter Balanced math assessments to be considered algebra ready?

The cut scores for algebra readiness are the 80th percentile or higher in the ITBS math and a scale score of 2600 or higher in the prior year’s Smarter Balanced math assessment.

What if my student’s scores are close but do not meet the cut scores?

Students that are near misses will be further reviewed by committee of administrators, teachers, and math specialists who look at additional academic data to determine readiness.

How will families be notified?

Families will be notified of the results by mail regardless of algebra readiness determination.

What do I do next if my students qualifies to be placed in Algebra 1 next year?

The school receives this information and the student will automatically be enrolled in Algebra.  If you decide that you do NOT want them placed in Algebra, please contact your middle school’s registrar.  While the test result shows an intellectual aptitude for Algebra, there may be some gaps in content as a result of missed classes. These gaps will need to be filled in order for your student to be successful next year and in their future math classes.

What if my student does not qualify to be placed in Algebra next year?

These tests were used for identifying students ready for Algebra next year. Most 5th-7th grade students are not expected to be ready for Algebra, yet. This does not mean that they are behind. They will continue on their current math trajectory.

If desired, there is the option of summer accelerated math (taking 7th grade challenge math) that would allow placement into Algebra next year.  Here is the web site for that:

What resources are available to support my student who has qualified for placement in Algebra next year?

Our desire is to work with you and provide tools and resources to make the appropriate decision, of how to fill these gaps, for your student.

The Mathematics: Focus By Grade Level documents at provide information about the learning standards and expectations for each grade level.

To be successful in Algebra 1, NSD teachers identified critical skills for students. Students can use this Algebra Readiness Self-Assessment to assess their current skill level and can access online resources in the Algebra Readiness Skills & Resources.

Many middle schools provide additional support for students identified as Algebra Ready. Please contact your student’s middle school for more information.

What if my student qualified for both Highly Capable and Algebra Readiness?

If your student passed Algebra Readiness testing, they will enroll in Algebra I next year regardless of HiCap eligibility.

A current fifth-grader who passes Algebra Readiness testing will enroll in Algebra I in the fall of the following school year.

A current fifth-grader who qualified for Highly Capable services, but did not pass Algebra Readiness testing, will enroll in Challenge Math 7.

A flowchart displaying middle school math trajectories can be found here: Middle School Math Course Sequence. (Link opens a PDF)