Placement Tests - Helpful ideas for giving tests & evaluating results

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Placement Tests - Helpful ideas for giving tests & evalu

Unread post by 4Truth »

Should I help on the test?
LynnH wrote:Today I was giving my 2nd grader the placement test level 1a and the test was confusing to her.

Should I help her figure out what she is suppose to do on each problem (without giving her the answer) or do I let her read each problem for herself and let her do it completly on her own?
When I'm testing my girls with a diagnostic or anything like that, I do NOT help them. Okay, sometimes I'll give a little hint if it's something I know they know but just don't recognize the way it's worded on the test. But normally, when testing, I just let them do it on their own. I tell them to just skip it if they don't know. After all, if you help on the ones they don't know, then you're not going to get accurate results. You want them placed in the proper level.

I think the tests are pretty accurate. Singapore is different than what we're used to in American math programs, so it might look or feel funny at first.

And FWIW, it's very normal for your child to place "behind" on a Singapore test. I think most of our kids did that when we first started Singapore. That's because Singapore doesn't follow the same scope & sequence we do here in America, and they arrange things differently. So don't feel bad if your dd's struggling a bit with the placement test. It sounds normal. :o)
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.
Julie in MN
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Hi Lynn,
I have to add that I do *not* like the Singapore placement tests, and that they are *not* anything like a typical Singapore assignment!

Manage as best you can & get thru it. Some things you may "know" where your child is at as mom/teacher, and can skip testing on them. As "personal tutors," we can often assess our kids without a test, eh?!

Though the more you get her to do (even if it's over several days), the more on-target your placement will be. However, I wouldn't want to make her hate Singapore before even starting :o)

Last edited by Julie in MN on Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread post by ShariD »

We are getting ready to use Singapore for the first time and I had the same frustration when I gave the placement tests last spring. After much debate, I decided to place my son where he tested, even though I am certain that he knows much of the material better than the test indicated.

Here was some of my thinking -- and advice I received -- if it is of any benefit to you:
-If he thoroughly understood the concept, unfamiliar wording would not throw him off. (oversimplified example: 2 + 2 always equals 4, whether the sentence says "they added 2 more", "they found another pair" or anything else. A child that understands the concept of adding 2 + 2 would not be so easily thrown off by a new wording).

-If Singapore uses and builds on the same terminology, he and I would both be frustrated at trying to figure out what they are talking about. I thought it would be unnecessarily confusing to try to explain 2 "new" concepts at once (the one being introduced and the terminology that was new to us.)

-Since their scope and sequence is different, we would miss some things that weren't covered in our previous program (MFW-1) . My son probably could have picked them up, but I didn't want to develop my own materials to cover them and get him "up to speed" with the Singapore levels OR take the chance that he would "figure them out" when they came up again later in Singapore at a more advanced level.

-Once we get used to their method and terminology, if I find he understands the material well, we can move faster; only do half the problems, etc. If I find he really did know the material, we may get through 3 levels this year instead of 2. If he knew the material so-so, this will reinforce it. If he didn't get it as well as I thought, he'll be on track as we continue with Singapore.

We are scheduled to start next week, so I don't have any experience to offer you yet! My last problem is deciding whether to start at the beginning of the level or skip some of the early units that I am CERTAIN he knows well.....I'm certain the answer lies in prayer and input from my husband!
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Unread post by mrs_mike98 »

I just switched to Singapore, and while my DS knew every concept in the 1A book, as the previous poster mentioned, the wording confused him.

So after talking with some wonderful ladies at our conventions MFW booth, they suggested starting him off easier would be better because (1) it will help him grasp the new terminology, (2) it will give him confidence, and (3) we can always speed up if need be, but it's harder to turn back the clock, so to speak.

So we started with 1A... I let him lead on how much he wants to get done each day, but it's only been a month and we are already halfway through 1A. But it's been good for him, there are definitely things he needed to review and grasp better. So I don't regret it for a minute.
Erin, blessed mama to 5 boys :-)
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Singapore Placement Test

Unread post by LynnH »

WOW! Thank you to all the ladies that responded to my question about the math placement tests. Your advice gave me the things I needed to consider as I pray for God's guidance. I love this board - thank you to the Hazells and to our loving Father.
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Unread post by amylynn12 »

Thanks so much for bringing up this topic. :)

When I gave our 10 year old daughter the Singapore placement test, she was in tears and begged me to not "make" her use the program! :(

I was so upset because with all I had read about it, it sounded like the best program for her. I did end up buying it for our 2nd grader and just started her in 1A. It will be great for her. My 10 year old struggles in math and I had hoped that the Singapore program would help her. I just told her what you all said about how the placement tests aren't like the program. So....she has now agreed to give it a try, once she finishes where she is in her current math program. :)

Thanks again for bringing this up. :)

Unread post by cbollin »

I take a cue from Spelling Power's placement tests and stop the test when it is obvious that it is beyond what they know. I also didn't make my kids take more than one test per day. Nor did I expect them to take the whole thing in one setting. Some of those placement tests are just too long for the level. I just told my kid --- this is to help me decide which book to start with. If this test is too hard we'll start with the book that comes before it.

That's just how it worked over here.


Unread post by TurnOurHearts »

What if her low score was due to distractions, not lack of knowledge?
ChristyH wrote:I can see some mistakes are just because she might have been distracted by her brothers running around.
Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 11:12 am

IMO, worst case scenario, your daughter starts in a level where she gains confidence. When we started Singapore, my son placed in 1B - and he is a math lover! The first half of the book, he was begging to do more. Now, the closer we got to the end of the book, the begging stopped, but he had really solidified his foundation, as well as learned the terminology specific to Singapore. That has helped us immensely as we've moved on in this math program.

One question: will your dd feel badly if she has to use a workbook with a "2A" on the cover? I know some kids are more aware of that than others. If so, buy some lovely contact paper & cover her workbooks before she even looks through them. Just a thought. :)
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Unread post by lyntley »

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 1:06 pm

My 9YO placed 1B. I started her in 1A and let her zip through. She is on 1B now. I just wanted her to get a feel for the terminology and everything and it's been great. SHe didn't like math at all last year and complained at first that she was going to have to do " Baby Math".

I just told her that she's helping me by making a book to correct her brothers math. She LOVES it now and will possibly zip right through 2A and B at this rate. We still keep up with the daily drills of add, sub, mult and div. Going back to the beginning makes it's all worth it to hear her now say she really enjoys math.
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Unread post by niki »

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 7:30 pm

My 9y.o. placed in 2A, we've really struggled with math over the years...but she loves Singapore, and is about to start 2B!! She's so excited and says she loves math...I almost do a double take to make sure that's really my kid talking!

Don't feel bad - just jump in! I don't think you'll be sorry. She has gained so much confidence and skill - we are pleased.

Can my child use counters or a number line on the test?

Unread post by cbollin »

shawnswife wrote:I was looking at the 1A placement test for my daughter. For the most part she can only add if she uses counters or a number line. Does anyone know if you are supposed to use these in the placement tests? Without them I know she will score really low. i'm wondering if she is not ready for Singapore. She will be starting second grade in July, but Math seems to be her weakest subject.
Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:21 pm
In that case, I'd just start with 1A and not worry about the placement test.
  • from mfw website:
    Placement Tips: If your child does not know addition/subtraction facts, begin with Primary Math 1A and 1B.

    It is usually better to start teaching on a level that is slightly too easy than one that is slightly too difficult.
Sandi in NC
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Unread post by Sandi in NC »

Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:20 am

I ran into that same dilemma with my youngest daughter. We just started her in 1A and went from there. It gave her confidence because there were parts that she was able to do quite easily and allowed us to become more familiar with how Singapore works.

It was much easier for us to start low and get comfortable, than to try to start a tad higher and then figure out how to catch her up.
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Unread post by AES »

Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 2:32 pm

I just wanted to comment that it is good your dd is using counters and and the number line. My 8 y/o is still using her fingers! She has had manipulatives but they become a fort, flashcards become a paper house, I've tried drilling with worksheets and on-line drills, and I even made a number line on the floor so she could 'count on' or 'count back'. And she still uses her fingers!

When we started with Singapore, I didn't even use the placement test (I think I looked it over or something on the Singapore website). I just started her with 1A. Be encouraged! :)
Amy E.

Evaluating a 4th grader's errors on the 2A placement test

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:07 pm
The "singapore mental math process" needed for Q1 on the 2A placement test will be covered again in 2B. So, if he was just solving the problems and got the right answers, it will be ok.

If he didn't understand Q 10 and 11 and 15/16--- then I say start with 2A at a faster pace to cover all of that or find a way to cover it at home. (I'm just an opinion, of course)

oh... and if your child struggled with the set up and solving of the word problems, then starting at 2A might be good. That's why it says on the mfw website to not just look at the 80% correct, but also if they really know the material, and that it's better to start at a lower level if you are unsure....)


What if child knows 1A topics but NOT math facts?

Unread post by cbollin »

joy2BAMom wrote:This is my first time posting but have enjoyed reading this board for a year now. My name is Sherrie and I am in Oklahoma. I have 3 8yo ds, a 5 yo dd and a almost 2yo dd. Last year was my first year w/ MFW. We did Adventures. This year we will be doing K and ECC. We are very excited about getting started. I have decided that this year we are going to go with all of MFW's recommendations and so we need to switch to Singapore.

The MFW site says that if your child does not know all of their math facts to start them in 1A. DS does NOT know all of his math facts. However, he knows everything on the 1A test. I have no pride issues about where I start him. It doesn't matter to me if he starts in 1A. I just don't want to waste money on a program that he does not need.
When your son took the placement test was he using manipulatives (or his fingers are ok too) to get the right answers or as you watched, did he know the material?

and how did he do on placement test for 1B (if 1B test is too long for him to finish or too hard that he just doesn't get it, then you don't want to jump ahead to the 2A placement test ---just think of 1B as the highest level that you would start him because you haven't covered that material. But just to assure you, none of the workbooks are as long as the placement test. The 1B placement test just shows how much is covered in that level and to what degree.

And given his age, he'll either start at 1B or 1A most likely.

Given his age, try to let him take the placement test for 1A to see how he does the problems. He may be ready for 1B program and just needs more drill work on his facts. They do need to add some kind of fact drill either way.

in 1A, they are taught Number Bonds for the math facts. That's those boxes on 1A placement test for question 4 and even in terms of how it is covered in question 5 (not only do you know the addition facts, but what about the same numbers but in a subtraction problem and can you fill in the numbers, not just the answer??? In other words, do they know how to set up the simple equation with the same 3 numerals in different places up through all ways that can make 20) So that is introduced in 1A and you keep working on drills of facts. It is not expected that they master all of those facts prior to moving on. But if they haven't learned many of them and are spending a lot of time counting to get the right answer on the placement test, starting at 1A is a better way to go especially if you have a 7 y.o child. (but you have an 8 y.o who has had some math before)

Another thing in 1A that is introduced (but covered later too) is a foundation for the concept behind subtraction with regrouping. It is taught even with Teens minus single digit so that it is easier to see that with pictures and blocks and things, while you are still learning your drills.

If you read through all of that and he takes the placement test and 1A seems like it's right --- he might be able to zip through the book quicker than it is written. That's ok too. But he might be ready for 1B and just needs extra drill on the facts up to 20.

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Unread post by Momto3princesses »

Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:36 am

My dd tested at 3B a year ago (she was going into 5th grade at the time) and although I felt like she knew much of what was going to be in 3b I still went ahead and started her there. For us that was the right thing to do.

Although the math was easy for her, and there was a lot of review, adjusting to a new curriculum and way of doing math was enough of a challenge as was starting homeschooling that year. Also, I found several areas that she was completely unfamiliar with and hadn't been exposed to before. If we hadn't started in 3B she would have been very confused later on.

In addition, because she was able to breeze through the first book she gained a TON of confidence in her math ability. She went through 2 1/2 books last year and is almost finished with her 3rd and understands the concepts so much better than she did before, and now she looks forward to doing Math every day!

It will be fun getting to know you and sharing the year with each other and all of the other great people on this board.
Amy C.
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singapore math placement tests

Unread post by Amy C. »

smileyface94 wrote:How do you score the placement tests here? I have the answer key but I don't see how many points each question is worth. I went to the singapore website and they give a value for each question but I don't see that here on the link MFW gives for the placement tests. The test are different also so I am not sure what to do. :~

I had to call the MFW office to figure out how they meant for me to score when we did the placement tests. This is what I think I remember them telling me. I think you divide the number of problems they got right with the total number of problems to get your percentage. In other words, say there are 20 problems and they got 16 right, you divide 16 by 20 to get the percentage they got right. That would be 0.8, which is 80 %. The same as if you had 100 problems and they got 90 right, you would divide 90 by 100 to get 0.9, which is 90%. I had a brain block when trying to figure it out the first time (it has been a long time since I had to figure a percentage) and now I have "pregnancy" brain (or at least that is what I am blaming it on ;) ) so I would suggest calling the MFW office to make sure I am telling you correctly.

Amy C.
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Help! Singapore placement

Unread post by TriciaMR »

secondchance wrote:I have just tested my 8 & 11yo & 5ons (3rd & 5th gr) for placement in Singapore math. They both tested at about the same place. The 3rd grader definitely needs to start w/ 2A, the 5th grader scored an 82% on the 2A placement test. He struggles greatly w/ math and and does not know his basic facts very well, esp multiplication and division.

I was thinking about starting both of them at 2A, but I don't know if teaching together would be the best idea. I don't want the 5th grader to feel pressured or upset. I have the feeling the 3rd grader may pass him up in math. Thots on how to do this? I was going to get them each their own workbook but they can share the textbook. Need much prayer about this, please. He already seems to be anxious about the whole math thing.

I have twins and I do NOT teach them together. They each process math in different ways. One often needs manipulatives a little longer than the other. One memorizes math facts easily and the other struggles with memorizing math facts. So, I teach them separately.

My guess is the older one will breeze through some of the sections, and then slow down on others, depending on what he has already been exposed to.

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Singapore Testing

Unread post by TriciaMR »

mamastading wrote:I just printed off our Singapore placement tests to determine which level to buy for next year. My question is, did you read the questions and help your kids comprehend what they were asking??? I dont want to lead her too much, but I think my first grader will get frustrated reading the test, figuring out how to solve the problem, and then actually doing the problem. Also would you let your child use manipulatives??? She struggles to do addition and subtraction without counters. She "gets" the concept, but the manipulatives at this point just seem to boost her confidence that she knows what shes doing.

Just looking at the test I already have a good idea with what she will know and not know. I just want to make sure Im not making it so easy that I buy too difficult of a workbook to start second grade!!
If you did MFW's 1st grade math, I would just start in 1A... That's what I did... Or, if you feel 1A would be to easy, 1B, and really get the feel of number bonds and Singapore explanations before moving on to 2A/2B.
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Re: Singapore Testing

Unread post by CaseyVG »

I just did this with my son yesterday! I gave him the 1A test. I read all the questions to him and sat with him, but did not help him or explain anything at all. I just kept telling him to write what he thinks the best answer is and we'll move on to the next one. He got a 74%. There was one question about the number bonds that he didn't understand, but I think if I would have explained what they meant by "number bonds" he would have gotten the 4 parts of that one. I was already planning on starting in 1A anyway, I just wanted to see how he would do. He is not very good at math facts. He also "gets" the concepts, but doesn't have many of them memorized. It sounds like if your daughter still needs the manipulatives, that you should also start in 1A. I figured that we could go quickly through the stuff he already understands, which will build his confidence.

Best of luck to you and your daughter!

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Re: Singapore Testing

Unread post by mamastading »

We did it this morning and also got a 74%, I had to giggle at all the little circles she drew all over the page since she wasn't using manipulatives. We will definitely be starting with 1A in the fall!!
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Singapore ?? (levels 5 and 6)

Unread post by Julie in MN »

SarahP wrote:As a means to test my DS (10) in his grasp of Singapore level 5 I am planning to use the Singapore Placement test. Do any of you have thoughts on whether I should use the 5b placement test of the 6a placement test. Which do you all think would give me a better idea of where we need to review? He will be finishing 5b in about 10 more working days and I have ordered level 6. If we need to review some of 5 before we dig into 6 we will do so.

Hi Sarah,
As for placement tests, they aren't necessary for advancing in Singapore. However, if you want to use them, then the 5b one would test whether he had mastered concepts in 5b. The 6a test would evaluate whether he had mastered 6a and needed to take the next harder placement test, vs. should be placed in 6a, and that doesn't seem like the test for your situation. Here is a quote from the MFW Singapore page:
  • Before you order Singapore, your child must take a placement test. (read more)
    ...If the student scores 80% or above, and you are confident he has really mastered that material, then continue on and give him the test for the next level (on another day). When he scores below 80% (or you believe that he has not mastered the content), that is the level at which you should begin teaching. For example, if your child scores 92% on Test 2A, and 70% on Test 2B, purchase the Primary Math 2B and 3A package.
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Re: Singapore ?? (levels 5 and 6)

Unread post by SarahP »

We are about to finish up 5b and I was just planning on using the test to make sure we don't have any holes we need to go back over. We are on week 21 of RTR and he is in 5th grade, so we are a bit ahead of where we "need" to be in terms if math, so I don't want to move on to 6a immediately if there are some areas that need to be reviewed first.
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Singapore math help

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

tiffanys wrote: Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:22 pmHello! This is our second year with MFW, and we are in ECC. Because we started MFW late in the game, my 4th grader had started out with Math-U-See. At this point, he has completely stalled, and I am considering switching him to Singapore. I recently switched my 2nd grader to Singapore and he is making progress again and loving math.

He has completed the tests for 2A and 2B, and has done well. The only thing he has really made any mistakes on is in the areas of geometry or fractions, which haven't been covered by MUS. He also cannot do the "mental math" portions of the placement tests. I haven't yet have him do the 3A and 3B placement tests.

Would it be reasonable to just start him way back at 2A to pick up what we missed, get more grounded with Singapore, and allow him to build his confidence and enjoy math again for a bit? Or is that going to just be insulting? I know that Singapore generally runs above grade level, and I have no worries about testing (we live in a no-test state).

Thanks for any insight you can give into Singapore!
I think you should start where you think he needs to be and just remember that the levels are not grade levels. It would be completely fine to start at a place where it would be fairly easy for him.

The method Singapore uses for doing math is quite different than traditional. So, it would probably help a lot to go back a bit and learn it the "Singapore way." Mental math is a huge part of Singapore. In fact, my oldest is in 3A and I struggle to get him to do the problems on paper with the proper procedure rather than mentally. We are working on long division and he really doesn't understand why he needs to bother learning the procedure for doing the operation because more often than not he already knows the answer. LOL. I'm not worried about it because I know that as an adult, being able to do math so quickly in his mind will really help him out. Plus, he is learning the steps for doing it the long way too. ;)

Anyway, I think spending some time working on those mental math strategies that are included in the lower levels will be a big help to your child. You can skip or minimally cover the sections he already knows and hit the portions that are heavy on mental math and the couple other things he was weak on. Just keep in mind that MFW recommends finishing 5B by the end of 6th grade. With that in mind, he will need to go a little faster through to get there.
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Re: Singapore math help

Unread post by klewfor3 »

Hmmm...I would start wherever your 4th grader tests to. Keep in mind that MFW recommends you finish with book 5B (at least) by the end of 6th grade. After that MFW switches to Saxon math.

Singapore is a different approach but at the same time it cycles over and over again building on earlier lessons. In those lessons they offer optional methods to doing the same math problem....mental math is encouraged but the student also learns how to work the problem out on paper. In my opinion, it would be OK to place your 4th grader at the level they test to. We love Singapore and have used it since the beginning with my now 6th grader. He loves doing math. Singapore is laid out so nicely that I don't think anyone would have a problem switching over... even at the 6th grade level. The way the textbook explains new concepts is easy to follow and stays within the age range it is geared toward.

I pulled out my 2A textbook and my very humble opinion (you are the momma and know best) is that I really think 2A would be too easy for your 4th grader. I have a 4th grade daughter and while math is not easy for her (she is still working on memorizing her math facts), she does quite well in 3A. We are about halfway through the book.

Hope you find what works best for you both!
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