This study explored the mathematics course placement process for incoming students in an all-boys Catholic high school. The sequential nature of mathematics significantly impacts students’ opportunity to learn; moreover, the mathematics course taken by a student during ninth grade can have far-reaching effects. Previous studies have found that ninth-grade students enrolled in Geometry, rather than Algebra 1, have a greater chance of completing advanced mathematics courses and experiencing increased mathematics success. Thus, adequately prepared students should be placed in Geometry whenever possible. To aid this effort, this study investigated whether a relationship exists between course placement criteria and future mathematics achievement. The study sample was comprised of students who graduated from the subject high school between 2015 and 2019 (N = 1067). The placement criteria examined were Acuity Algebra Proficiency Test results, High School Placement Test mathematics scores, and eighth-grade teacher recommendations. ACT mathematics scores were used as measures of success; binary logistic regression was utilized to determine strength of association between placement criteria and future mathematics achievement. Results indicate that Acuity test performance is strongly associated with future mathematics achievement, while combinations of placement criteria are more effective than individual course placement measures. Implications for further research are discussed.



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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.