Math Validation Test

9th Grade Math Placement & Math Validation Test Information

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 pass the MVT 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. ​

*Schedule changes occur at the end of May for the May MVT and by the third week of the new school year for the August MVT. Please review the FAQs for details.

 

Math Validation Test Dates for 2021:

The MVT will be given in May and August of 2021. Eligible students can take the test in May and/or August.

The May 2021 MVT will be administered on Saturday and Sunday, May 15-16.

The August 2021 MVT will be administered on Saturday and Sunday, August 21-22.

Eligibility and Application Process

Eligibility:

  • 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 for these courses. SFUSD relies on the UC Course List to determine whether outside courses cover all CCSS Algebra 1 content.

Application Process:

  1. Complete the MVT application form between March 1 - April 30 for the May MVT (The form is now closed).  The application will be reopen from June 1 - August 6 for the August MVT.
  2. Submit course content for review or verify course eligibility by May 7, 2021. 
  3. Submit final Algebra 1 grades from Semester 1 OR from both semesters if available by May 7, 2021. For online courses, provide proof of enrollment in Semester 2. Proof of enrollment is not needed if the student is taking Algebra 1 at their current school. Official transcripts are not required.

Email supporting documents to validationexam@sfusd.edu.

Follow-up Communication:

Please allow a few days for us to review your application and submitted documents. We will send you an email confirming registration, or we will request outstanding documents. 

After the application window closes on April 30th, confirmed participants will receive a follow-up email detailing the applicant's appointment slot and other specific administration details.

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

Family Letters: 9th Grade Math Placement and MVT Details

The MVT Family Letters linked below will be emailed to the families of new SFUSD students in late March. 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 2021?

The test will be administered during a four-hour period on May 15 or 16 and August 21 or 22, 2021. These dates are weekends. They will be administered at home and proctored through an online platform. 

Where is the test administered?

The test will be administered at a student's home. Paper copies of the test will be mailed home. A live proctor will administer and monitor the test virtually through an online platform. Families will return tests to a designated drop-off location on the Monday following the test period.

When can I apply for the MVT?

The application for the May MVT is available on this site from March 1 - May 7, 2021.
 

The application for the August MVT will be available on this site from June 1 - August 6, 2021.

Is there a fee associated with the test?

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

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

Only certain types of calculators are allowed on the MVT. Because the test is given at home, students will need to supply their own calculator. Students can opt not to use a calculator if they choose.

Allowed: 

Not allowed:

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.

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. Students must re-apply if they wish to re-take the test. The application for the August MVT will be available on this site in June.

If my child did not pass the exam, 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 passes the MVT, when will their course schedule be changed?

For the May MVT, schedule changes occur at the end of May. 

For the August MVT, schedule changes are made during the third week of the new school year. 

If my child passes the MVT, do I need to contact their school to change their schedule?

No. MVT results are shared directly with your child's high school as soon as they are available. Their counselor will make any necessary changes.

Where can I find practice questions for the MVT?

Sample MVT tasks and student responses are available here:

Download MVT Released Items      Download sample student responses

What materials must students/families supply for the MVT?

Students / Families are responsible for providing the following materials:

- An electronic device with a video camera and internet connection that can be used by the virtual proctor to monitor the test taker. Examples of acceptable devices include cell phones, tablet devices / iPads, and laptop computers. Devices should be fully charged and plugged in to a power source for the duration of the test.

- Pencils, erasers, and a ruler or straight-edge.

- A four-function calculator (highly suggested, but not required)

Additionally, students should have a quiet testing space free from interruptions and distractions. Optionally, students can have a beverage and snacks available.