Math Placement Test

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Palo Alto High School

Incoming 9th graders from our district are placed in 9th grade math courses by their 8th grade teacher.

Incoming 9th graders from outside the district take one of the following placement tests in Mathematics:

  • Students who completed a Pre-Algebra course in 8th grade take an Algebra Readiness test for placement in Algebra 1.1, Algebra 1 or Algebra 1A. The test covers all topics taught in Pre-Algebra.
     
  • Students who completed a formal Algebra course in 8th grade take a Geometry Readiness test for placement in Geometry A or GeoH. This test covers all topics taught in Algebra I.
     
  • Students who completed a formal Geometry course in 8th grade take a Readiness test for placement in Alg2Trig H or GeoH, our 10th, respectively 9th grade honors course. This test covers all the topics taught in our Geometry Honors 9th grade course.
     
  • Students who have completed formal courses in both Algebra 1 and Geometry and are presently enrolled in an advanced Algebra 2 course or above, may take a placement test for our honors 11th or 12th grade courses. This test covers the curriculum taught in our 10th Algebra 2TrigH, respectively 11th grade Analysis H course.

Students who want (or need) to repeat in 9th grade the course they completed in 8th grade can choose to take the corresponding lower level readiness test. For example, a student who took Algebra in 8th grade who wants to solidify his foundation may take an Algebra Readiness test to be placed in an Algebra course at Paly.

Incoming 10-12th graders from outside the district take one of the following placement tests in Mathematics:

  • Students who completed a formal Algebra I class before enrolling at Paly take a Geometry Readiness test for placement in one of our Geometry classes for sophomores: Geometry A or Geometry. This test covers all topics taught in Algebra I.
     
  • Students who have completed formal courses in Algebra I and Geometry (or have completed 2 years of integrated Algebra/Geometry curriculum) take a Readiness test for placement in one of our three Algebra II courses: Algebra 2 Trig H, Algebra 2 Trig A, or Algebra 2. This test covers the Geometry curriculum and an Intro to both Conic Sections and Trigonometry, all topics covered in our Geometry courses.
     
  • Students who have completed formal courses in Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II, take a placement test for one of our three Pre-Calculus courses: Analysis H, Intro to Analysis & Calculus or Pre-Calculus. This test covers the curriculum taught in our Algebra 2 courses.
     
  • Students who have completed formal courses in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and Pre-Calculus take a placement test for one of our 2 AP Calculus courses: AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC. This test covers the curriculum taught in our Pre-Calculus courses.

Students who want (or need) to repeat the last course they took can choose to take the corresponding lower level readiness test. For example, a student who completed Geometry but wants to solidify his foundation in the subject may take a Geometry Readiness test and be placed in one of our Geometry courses at Paly.

Students who have formally completed all required pre-requisite courses can qualify for math courses beyond their age group if they perform well enough on the placement test to be placed in our Honors lane course. We do not place students ahead unless they have mastered the material covered in the preceding honors level course. For example, a student who has taken Geometry in 8th grade but does not prove competency in all topics covered in our Geometry/Alg2H course will be placed in one of our Geometry 9th grade courses.

The Algebra test is a 60 minute; no-calculator multiple choice test. The Geometry test is a 75 minute no-calculator multiple choice test. All other are 90 minute no-calculator multiple choice tests. No special preparation is needed for the test. The list of textbooks we use in our courses is available on our website.