Original Paper on student placement (note that a final paper is being updated):


A crucial decision that affects the academic future of many middle and high school students is the level of mathematics class they are placed in. This
decision effectively decides whether they can take high school calculus or statistics. School mathematics departments place students into math classes on the basis of teacher recommendation. The purpose of this study was to explore high school student mathematics class placement through discriminant analysis.

Standardized testing scores and class grades were used to assess the teacher placements of the students into 7th grade and 9th grade mathematics classes (Algebra I, Geometry, Geometry Honors and Algebra II Honors). A logistic discriminant analysis was used.

A miscalculation rate of 0.15 for 7th grade and 0.32 for 9th grade resulted. Exploration of the data visually demonstrated a large number of students who ‘overlapped’ two potential class placements.

What becomes clear on exploration of individual student logit probabilities and visual representation of the data, is that many decisions are marginal. While standardized testing helps us paint a useful picture of a student and their potential future academic success, it is unlikely to paint a complete picture, the missing piece being a teacher knowing the student they recommend and other variables that effect a student’s success and thus mathematics placement. These extra variables include but are not limited to, work ethic, commitment to learning and communication skills.

Examples of Visuals from Report:
For the purpose of the analysis the following dummy variables for mathematics class placement were used in this report:
Algebra I - Dummy 1
Geometry - Dummy 2
Geometry Honors - Dummy 3
Algebra II Honors - Dummy 4