We take the responsibility of course placement very seriously, and want you to understand the values we embrace and the procedures we follow in making them. If you have questions, please call the 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, feel comfortable being an active member of the class, and can achieve in a way that maintains their confidence. We value having a 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 that are 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 their four-year career at Hinsdale Central. We do so with a commitment to expanding opportunities for students. Therefore, we revisit placements at least annually throughout a student’s four years to be sure that they are taking courses at the highest level where they 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 ninth grade curriculum, and our knowledge of how students with specific achievement profiles have performed in the ninth 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/guardians include eighth grade teacher feedback, skill evaluation tests and student work product, when needed.
MAP Testing (if available)
If your student’s current school has shared spring and/or fall MAP test results with the high school, all data has been carefully reviewed by our core area department chairs as part of the course placement process.
MAP 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, that are independent of the grade level or age of a student and provide greater 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 Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), which publishes MAP, “the percentile means that the student scored as well or better than that percent of students taking the test in their grade.”
All Hinsdale Central department chairs have comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the curriculum in their departments. They know the optimal alignment between specific eighth grade achievement profiles and the knowledge and skills needed to perform successfully in the various courses offered.
Eighth Grade Teacher Assessment of Student Performance
Department chairs had conversations with eighth grade teachers regarding student performance to gain insight into the student's reading, writing, speaking, critical thinking, discussion, and cooperation skills, as well as their motivation, initiative, and work habits. The best predictor of future performance is current performance in similar circumstances.
Student and Parent Assessment of Student Aspirations
The student should have an opportunity to indicate their interest in being placed in a particular ability group. Student aspirations and self-knowledge can be valuable predictors of achievement. A student’s parent/guardian may also be able to provide additional insight into their motivation, work patterns, and other involvements. We encourage students and parents/guardians to take all of these factors into consideration when making decisions about the placements that are being recommended.
Skill Evaluation Test
In some departments, students may be asked to take a test authored by Hinsdale Central 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, IEPs are also a factor in determining course selection and performance-based, ability group placement. If you have an IEP, but would like to request a placement higher than the one 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.
If your student receives multiple course placement options in any content area, this indicates their test score or other data fell within a range that they could be successful in an honors level course and we highly encourage you to contact the department chair to have a discussion about placement so that you are able to make an informed decision. The final choice is up to the student and parent/guardian, who will let the counselor know which course they would like to take at their course selection meeting.
If you did not receive a placement recommendation in a course and are interested in a higher placement, you MUST contact the department chair in the content area before your counselor course selection meeting 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 reach out to the department chair 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.