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Mathematics Placement Information

Mathematics Placement for Students Entering Grade 7

Students entering Grade 7 will be enrolled into one of the following courses: Mathematics 7 or Pre-Algebra 7. The placement process begins with a detailed overview of the students progress on the following primary identifying measures: 

STAR Mathematics Grade 6 Fall Unified Scale Score

STAR Mathematics Grade 6 Fall Percentile Rank

STAR Mathematics Grade 6 Winter Unified Scale Score

STAR Mathematics Grade 6 Winter Percentile Rank

Cognitive Abilities Assessment or CogAT Median Age Stanine 

Pre-Algebra Placement Assessment

Grades in Trimesters 1 and 2

Teacher Input based on the Behaviors That Support Learning

Secondary identifiers will include the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment for Mathematics. This standardized assessment will indicate students' ability to perform in the exceeding expectations category based on students across the state in the same grade level. This score will only be used to assist students in qualifying for accelerated placement and not prevent them from being considered. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How are the STAR Unified Scale Score and Percentile Rank used?

When determining students readiness, an increase in scale score indicates that the learner has shown growth in the content. The Unified Scale Score is a comparison of students' performance over time and across grades. It is calculated based on the difficulty of questions and the number of correct responses. Since the same range is used for all students, scaled scores can be used to compare student performance across grade levels. All norm-referenced scores are derived from the scaled score. 

The percentile rank is a norm-referenced score that provides a measure of a student’s math ability compared to other students in the same grade nationally. The STAR Manual indicates that, “To interpret screening results, schools often use benchmarks and cut scores. These scores help educators identify which students require some form of intervention to accelerate growth and move toward benchmark, and which students are already at or above benchmark.

What is the Cognitive Abilities Assessment or CogAT?

The Cognitive Abilities Assessment or CogAT  is administered in the Spring of Grade 5 as a screening tool for the Project Plus / Accelerated and Enriched Pathway programs. CogAT is an ability assessment which is different from the standardized assessments listed above. Student performance on this assessment determines their ability to reason and problem solve. By including this measure, students are given a more rounded look into their readiness for an accelerated course of study. The table below describes the learner characteristics based on the students median age stanine. 

The Interactive Ability Profile Interpretation System is available at https://www.riversideinsights.com/apps/cogat 

How does my child prepare for the Pre-Algebra Readiness Assessment?

The Pre-algebra readiness assessment is designed to calculate students ability to apply requisite skills from the Grade 6 standards that will be critical for the fast-paced pre-algebra program in Grade 7. Students must specifically master the following standards in order to be considered for the accelerated course:

Ratios and Proportional Relationships 

  • Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.

The Number System 

  • Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to divide fractions by fractions
  • Compute fluently with multi-digit numbers and find common factors and multiples.
  • Apply and extend previous understandings of numbers to the system of rational numbers.

Expressions and Equations 

  • Apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic to algebraic expressions.
  • Reason about and solve one-variable equations and inequalities.
  • Represent and analyze quantitative relationships between dependent and independent variables.


  • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, surface area, and volume.

Statistics and Probability 

  • Develop understanding of statistical variability.

What input does the teacher provide?

Academic data is collected through the STAR Fall and WInter windows, Trimesters 1 and 2 Grades, as well as the Pre-algebra Readiness Assessment, therefore, teachers are asked to share input on students behaviors that support learning as demonstrated in the classroom. The specific behaviors that support learning that teachers provide *input on are as follows:

Grade 6 Math Placement

Behaviors That Support Learning Rubric


Definition of Demonstrating Behavior

Not There

Almost There


Beyond There


The student uses critical and creative thinking skills to take action on cognitively complex tasks. 


Knowledge Seeker

The student demonstrates conceptual understanding and explores that understanding across all domains. 


Reflective Practitioner 

The student thoughtfully considers their thinking in an effort to understand their own strengths and weaknesses leading to personal growth.  


Open-minded Collaborator

The student critically appreciates the values and ideas of others, and attempts to grow from them.


*Please note that teachers are not asked to make specific decisions regarding placement. Teachers will provide input that informs administrative decisions around student course placement. 


What opportunities will my child have for acceleration in Grade 8?

A similar process takes place at the end of Grade 7 to determine if students are demonstrating readiness for algebra. This process does not include a readiness assessment at the end of the year. The data collection includes the following primary identifiers: 

STAR Mathematics Grade 7 Fall Unified Scale Score

STAR Mathematics Grade 7 Fall Percentile Rank

STAR Mathematics Grade 7 Winter Unified Scale Score

STAR Mathematics Grade 7 Winter Percentile Rank

Grade 7 Trimesters 1 and 2 Grades 

Teacher Input based on the Behaviors That Support Learning

Secondary identifiers that will be used to determine readiness are the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment - Mathematics, Grade 7 and the Cognitive Abilities Assessment. 

Will my child be able to apply to the Freehold Regional High School Magnet programs without completing algebra in Grade 8?

Three out of fourteen magnet programs require algebra to be completed before Grade 9. The following programs are computer science, medical science, and science & engineering. The FRHSD website provides detailed information about these programs. 

When is the data collected and aggregated?

Data is collected in the early spring to determine course placement for the following school year. The pre-algebra assessment will take place in May each year. A letter will be sent home to parents of rising grade 7 students. This helps build a student profile that depicts your child’s overall performance in mathematics. Additional measures are considered such as CogAT, NJSLA Math 6 or 7, and/or STAR Math Spring Unified Scale Score & Percentile Rank in the event that your child’s profile would benefit from a deeper analysis. 

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