How to Know Exactly What Saxon Math Level Your Student Should Be In
The finish line is near. There are far more lessons on the left side of your student’s Saxon math book than on the right. Whether your summer break starts next week or in June, you and everyone around you is more than ready.
But with the celebrations, there also comes the question… “What’s next?”
SAXON MATH LEVEL: HOW TO KNOW WHICH ONE IS RIGHT.
Maybe you’re just considering going the Saxon Math route and need help understanding where to begin. Perhaps you’re grappling with where to go after Saxon Math 8/7. Maybe you’re not sure your student really grasps the last concepts in their current level.
Whatever, the case, it’s not always clear what your next step should be.
So, what is the right way to assess how your student is doing in math, and where to begin once you start back next year? I want to offer some practical help and give you the direction you need now, so you can feel confident in your plan and truly unwind this summer.
IF YOU ARE BRAND NEW TO SAXON:
Start with a free Saxon Math placement test. These are designed for students who have not previously used the curriculum. A placement test will include material from prior textbooks to help determine where a student should begin. The instructions on each test are clear and will tell you how to use the information from the test.
Most of the time, you’ll find your student will begin in the Saxon level designed for their corresponding grade. For most middle grade kids, that will be:
Fourth Grade: 5/4
Fifth Grade: 6/5
Sixth Grade: 7/6
Seventh Grade: 8/7
Eighth Grade: Algebra ½
But remember, these are SKILL level books first and foremost. If you have a student who has missed some concepts, they may be best served to start at a level lower than what is listed for their grade. If they plow through that book, GREAT! They can keep chugging along and continue to have a strong showing in the program.
Likewise, a placement test could show that an exceptional student who understands more advanced concepts may be able to handle the material in a book beyond the one listed for their grade level. So long as the student has the maturity and attention span to do the work, they may excel despite the name on the cover.
IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY USING SAXON MATH:
The most important thing to remember is this: success in one Saxon math level is the best predictor of success in the next. You might feel like because the year is done, it’s time to close the current book and move on. But rushing ahead when concepts have not yet “stuck” will only do your student a disservice.
You probably already know the Saxon Math Level placement tests aren’t for students already using Saxon. So to make sure your student is in the right Saxon Math Level for next year, you may need to do a little in-depth investigation during the last weeks of your current semester.
Weekly tests can be a great place to start. Certainly standardized testing can give another clue. But those methods don’t always tell the whole story. Here are some other thing to consider so you can feel confident about the Saxon Math Level your student is in.
THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER TO ACCURATELY ASSESS A STUDENT’S SAXON MATH LEVEL
YOUNGER STUDENTS: For younger students, the most common problem I see is a lack of memorization of math facts. If your child is struggling with more advanced concepts or taking an especially long time to finish work, it’s likely that they are doing calculations in their head that should be memorized.
What to do: Spend time now and over the summer nailing those math facts before moving on. If you need help, check out Drill Team, my math facts memorization program! It’s a great resource that takes the work off the parent or teacher.
MIDDLE GRADE STUDENTS: For students in the middle grades, I recommend you take a close look at your student’s daily work. What problems are they getting right on the first try versus the third try? Are they consistently missing problems that deal with certain concepts? That’s a great sign that they could use some extra help in that area.
OLDER STUDENTS: Older students may need additional support that you don’t feel qualified to provide. However, there are resources even for this!
What to do: First, work through incorrect problems alongside them using the solutions manual. Ask them to explain their process and question why they are making the choices they are, if they differ from the book. Watch them check their work. Sometimes just this step-by-step accountability can help something click that wasn’t previously.
Additionally, many students have also found help by asking their questions in the Class Chat. If you haven’t accessed this feature of the site, it’s a powerful tool that allows older students to learn from other kids who are further along in the Saxon math program.
Believe me, I know it can be hard to determine just how your child is doing in math. The end-of-the-year plan isn’t always be as simple as “Forge ahead with no changes” or even just “Slow down.”
In the end, tests simply provide a data point: they help you figure out problem spots and where your student needs help. Assessment PLUS further troubleshooting can be a powerful way to help you know just what Saxon math level your student should be in.
With this information in hand, the road ahead becomes a lot more clear.
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