Math Validation Test

9th Grade Math Placement & Math Validation Test Information

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9th Grade Math Placement in SFUSD

SFUSD follows the Common Core Math recommended course sequence, in which students take Common Core State Standards-based (CCSS) Math 8 in 8th grade and CCSS Algebra 1 in 9th grade. CCSS Math 8 is a rigorous course that prepares students for success in high school math courses. 

The SFUSD course sequence for math provides a focused, coherent, and rigorous learning experience that balances mathematical content knowledge with mathematical practices. Students take CCSS Algebra 1 in 9th grade and CCSS Geometry in 10th grade. In 11th grade, students choose to take either CCSS Algebra 2 or a compression course, CCSS Algebra 2 + Precalculus, that will prepare students for AP Calculus in 12th grade.

Students take CCSS Algebra 1 in 9th grade and CCSS Geometry in 10th grade. In 11th grade, students choose to take either CCSS Algebra 2 or a compression course, CCSS Algebra 2 + Precalculus, that will prepare students for AP Calculus in 12th grade.

 

The Math Validation Test: a test of Algebra 1 content mastery

Students who complete a full-year Algebra 1 course outside of SFUSD prior to 9th grade must pass the Math Validation Test (MVT) to be placed in CCSS Geometry in 9th grade.  This test is not required for everyone. Only students who wish to take Geometry as freshmen should apply.

In accordance with the California Mathematics Placement Act of 2015 (SB359), the SFUSD Board of Education passed the Math Placement Policy which describes how students will be placed in their 9th grade math class:

  1. Incoming 9th graders who have completed a Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Math 8 course will be placed in CCSS Algebra 1.
  2. Incoming 9th graders who have completed a full-year Algebra 1 course outside SFUSD from an accredited school covering the subject matter taught in CCSS Math 8 and CCSS Algebra 1 and have earned grades of C or higher will be eligible to take the Math Validation Test. Students who meet the cut-score will be placed in CCSS Geometry*. To meet the requirements for the MVT, a school’s Algebra 1 course must cover all CCSS Algebra 1 content included in the Math Placement Policy. ​

*Counselors will make schedule changes at the end of May for the May MVT and by the 3rd week of the school year for the August MVT. Please review the FAQs for details.

Math Validation Test Dates, Times, and Location for 2023

The following dates are tentative and subject to change:

May MVT: Saturday, May 13, 2023 (tentative)

August MVT: Saturday, August 19, 2023 (tentative)

Students who did not meet the cut-score in May can retake the test in August after submitting their 2nd semester Algebra 1 grade.

Times: In consideration of COVID-19, the test will have a staggered start times to reduce contact between students. Students have up to 4 hours to complete the test. Students with identified special needs will be accommodated appropriately.

  • 8:30am - 12:30pm (arrive by: 8:10am)
  • 9:00am - 1:00pm (arrive by: 8:40am)

Location: The MVT will be administered in-person at an SFUSD school. All COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed. The test location and start time will be emailed to families after all requirements are met.

Test Format: Students will take a paper/pencil test in-person. See the FAQ section below for sample tasks.

Eligibility, Application Process, and Communication

Eligibility:

  • Students must be in 8th grade during the 2022-23 school year to apply.
  • Students who took an Algebra 1 course in their middle school are required to submit their course syllabus or the Coursework Verification Form with their application materials. SFUSD will review the course content to determine eligibility. Eligible courses cover content outlined in the Common Core State Standards for Algebra 1. Students in SFUSD do not take Algebra 1 in 8th grade.
  • Students who took an Algebra 1 course outside of their middle school must verify that it meets UC/CSU requirements by visiting the UC Course List website. If the institution and Algebra 1 course can be found on the UC website, then it qualifies. Courses that do not appear on the site are ineligible. SFUSD neither endorses nor determines eligibility of online courses. SFUSD relies on the UC Course List to determine if those courses fulfill CCSS Algebra 1 content requirements.
  • Students must complete a full-year Algebra 1 course and must submit a grade reports. Letter grades, standards-based grades and narrative reports are acceptable. NOTE: Self-study and tutoring are not eligible.

Application Process:

  1. Apply by filling out the May 2023 MVT Application between March 1 - May 5, 2023. Deadline for May: 5pm on Friday. 
  2. Submit* course content for review or verify course eligibility: Students taking Algebra 1 in schools outside SFUSD will submit the Coursework Verification Form. Students in SFUSD and/or students taking an online course will verify course eligibility through the UC Portal.
  3. Submit* grades and/or provide proof of enrollment in an online course: For May, students will submit Semester 1 Algebra 1 grades. Official transcripts are not required. Students taking an online course must also submit proof of enrollment in Semester 2 of Algebra 1 or a Semester 2 progress report. For August, all students must submit Algebra 1 grades from both semesters.

 

*Email supporting documents to validationexam@sfusd.edu during the application window.

Follow-up Communication:

Please allow a few days for us to review your application and submitted documents. We will email you to request outstanding documents or we will send registration confirmation, appointment time, and test location.

Questions? Read the Family Letter and FAQs below or contact validationexam@sfusd.edu.

Application Form

Application periods: Mar 1 - May 5, 2023 and May 26 - August 11, 2023

Family Letters: 9th Grade Math Placement and MVT Details

MVT Family Letters (see samples below) are emailed to the families of new SFUSD students in late March and mid June. They are available in the following languages:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why do all SFUSD 9th graders take Algebra 1?

Students who take Algebra 1 in 9th grade are significantly more likely to pass the first time, thereby setting them up for success in higher-level math courses.

Will my child be able to take AP Calculus in high school if they take Algebra 1 in 9th grade?

Yes, there are multiple pathways detailed in SFUSD's recommended course sequences by which a student can take Calculus in 12th grade. For example, a student who takes Algebra 1 in 9th grade, Geometry in 10th grade, and the compressed Algebra 2 + Precalculus course in 11th grade may take AP Calculus in 12th grade. Please speak with your child's high school counselor to ask which options are available at their school.

Since SFUSD implemented the Math Placement Policy which begins with 9th grade Algebra 1, significantly more SFUSD students from all backgrounds have enrolled in AP Calculus and other AP math courses by 12th grade.

(See also: "If my child did not pass the exam, can they still take AP Calculus by 12th grade?" below.)

Which online courses does SFUSD recommend?

SFUSD does not endorse or recommend any online courses. SFUSD recommends that all students follow one of the recommended Secondary Course Sequences in Math

SFUSD accepts courses that are listed on the UC/CSU Course List website.

How are the questions and scoring for the MVT determined?

The exam accurately reflects the standards associated with CCSS Grade 8 Math and Algebra 1.  The items included in the exam have been field tested with approximately 10,000 students, and have shown a strong correlation with student understanding of the important big ideas in the CCSS for Math.

The MVT tasks and scoring process are designed to be a valid and reliable assessment of a student's Algebra 1 proficiency. This independent review of the MVT provides a detailed description of the test and the scoring process.

When will the MVT be administered in 2023?

The test will be administered twice; on Saturdays, May 13 and August 19.

Students will start testing at either 8:30 or 9:00am. Students have up to 4 hours to complete the test.

Students who do not meet the cut score in May can retake the August test after submitting 2nd Semester Algebra 1 grades to validationexam@sfusd.edu

Where is the test administered?

The test will be administered at an SFUSD school site. The school site location and test appointment time will be sent to qualifying students who have submitted an application and required documentation.

When can I apply for the MVT?

Apply for the May MVT from March 1 to May 5.
 

Apply for the August MVT from June 1 to August 11.

Scroll up for the application link.

Where can I find practice questions for the MVT? What is the format of test questions?

Sample MVT tasks and student responses are available below. These tasks reflect the format of the tasks on the MVT:

Download MVT Released Items      Download sample student responses

Is there a fee associated with the test?

No, eligible students sit for the exam free of charge. 

What materials must students supply for the MVT?

Students are responsible for bringing pencils and erasers. Students are encouraged to bring water and snacks. Test proctors will provide rulers and calculators to students for use during testing.

Are calculators allowed on the test? If so, which types?

Yes, SFUSD will provide students with a 4-function calculator to use on the test. Students may not bring their own calculators.

Can my child re-take the MVT? Do they need to re-apply?

Students who do not pass the MVT in May can re-take the test in August.

Yes, students must re-apply for the August test and must submit their 2nd Semester Algebra 1 grades.

Why is the August MVT given after the start of the school year?

In accordance with the California Mathematics Placement Act of 2015 (SB359), school districts must “[include] at least one placement checkpoint within the first month of the school year to ensure accurate placement.” (California Code, Education Code - EDC § 51224.7.b.2)

The Math Validation Test in August serves as this checkpoint.

When are scores released?

By Friday, May 26 for the May 13 test.

By Friday, August 25 for the August 10 test.

If my child meets the cut-score, when will their course schedule be changed?

For the May MVT, counselors make scheduling changes beginning Friday, May 26. Those changes are reflected in students schedules for the 2023-24 school year.

For the August MVT, counselors make scheduling changes beginning Friday, August 25. All changes are completed by September 1st.

Scores are shared with high school counselors. Families do not need to contact schools to make the changes.

If my child does not meet the cut-score, can they still take AP Calculus by 12th grade?

Yes, there are multiple pathways detailed in SFUSD's recommended course sequences by which a student can take Calculus in 12th grade. For example, a student who takes Algebra 1 in 9th grade, Geometry in 10th grade, and the compressed Algebra 2 + Precalculus course in 11th grade may take AP Calculus in 12th grade. Please speak with your child's high school counselor to ask which options are available at their school.

(See also: "Will my child be able to take AP Calculus in high school if they take Algebra 1 in 9th grade?" above.)

If my child meets the cut-score, do I need to contact their school to change their schedule?

No, families do not need to contact schools. MVT results are shared directly with high school counselors as soon as they are available. Counselors will make changes.

This page was last updated on January 19, 2023