• E-Squared Q&A

    E2 is an engaging and exciting, enrichment program at Clinton Public School designed to meet the needs of our advanced math students in grades three through six.  This program encourages high levels of critical thinking through rigorous collaborative and independent activities. It permits students to show a mastery of material and then provides them with the opportunity to progress at an accelerated rate through new material.  It also presents students with multi-tiered assignments within each unit.  Each activity and assignment is tailored to meet different student achievement levels and fosters opportunities for peer interaction and collaboration among students of similar interests and abilities.

    Below please find the answers to many of the questions that we anticipate may cross your mind as you begin to learn about this new program. However, if there is anything that we missed please do not hesitate to contact us for further clarification.

    If my child qualifies, how much time will he/she spend in the regular math class?

    In grade 3:
    The number of days in a cycle, and the percentage of time each student spends engaged in our E2 Math program activities as opposed to the regular math classroom setting will vary by unit and by individual student needs. The 3rd grade program is a combination of individual and small group investigations during which time the math enrichment teacher will co-teach lessons with the regular education classroom teacher.  Each of these lessons will be designed to enrich and extend the NJ Core Content Standards that are the foundation of our current third grade math curriculum.  It is our goal to enhance the mathematical experiences of our advanced third grade math students through the use of technology, classroom projects, and authentic hands on activities.

    In grade 4:
    As is the case with our third grade program, the number of days in a cycle and the percentage of time each student spends in the E2 Math Program will be driven by the needs of particular units and individual students.  At this level the program is a combination of individual and small group investigations. These units will be designed to challenge high-ability students in a setting where differentiation and collaborative exchanges provide natural extensions to the grade level curriculum.  There will be frequent assessments of each participant’s grasp of the math concepts being presented in the regular classroom.  Demonstration of mastery will lead to more in-depth work which may happen inside or outside of the regular math classroom depending upon the students’ interest and progress, as well as the core content and unit of study.

    In grades 5 and 6:
    E2 Math will be a replacement math program for qualifying students at these grade levels.  This means that your child will no longer have math in the regular classroom setting. Instead, your child will be taught in a cluster group of high-ability students and will have the chance to move through the curriculum at more rapid pace then his/her peers. Based upon your son or daughter’s performance on assessments, this curriculum compacting may provide your child with an opportunity to “skip” ahead to Eighth Grade Algebra I at the beginning of his/her seventh grade year. After successfully completing Eighth Grade Algebra I, your child will take the exam that will afford him/her the opportunity of taking a high school math class during his/her eighth grade year if they successfully achieve the minimum required score on this exam. (See the next two questions for a more in depth explanation of how this 2nd tier of the qualification process works at the end of your child’s sixth grade year.)

    If his or her math aptitude necessitates it, will my child ever have the opportunity to move ahead to the next grade level?
    Beginning at the midyear point of 2008-2009, the E2 Math Program became a replacement math program for qualifying students.  Consequently, those particular E2 students no longer had math within the regular classroom setting.  Instead, this subset of E2 students’ received his/her math instruction within a cluster group of high-ability students and moved through the NJ State Curriculum Standards at a more rapid pace than his/her peers. This is referred to as curriculum compacting and it has become the standard mode of operation for our E2 program in both the 5th and 6th grades.
    Curriculum compacting in sixth grade will provide a subset of E2 students with the opportunity to “skip” ahead to Eighth Grade Algebra I during his/her seventh grade year. This is what we refer to as Tier II of E2.  Then the following year, upon successful completion of the Eighth Grade Algebra I class, these children will take an exam that will afford him/her the opportunity to take Honors Geometry at the high school during his/her eighth grade year, if they effectively achieve the minimum required score on this exam.
    The information stated above, should serve to elucidate how the E2 program operates for those students who are currently flourishing within this environment.   The next segment is designed to illustrate how this program will look for future E2 students who may one day qualify to participate in this advanced level known as Tier II of our E2 Math Program.  
    Will my child have the opportunity to take Honors Geometry at the high school during his/her eighth grade year at CPS?
    Beginning in 2010-2011, every sixth grader in the E2 program will qualify to participate in the type of curriculum compacting explained in the previous section of this document.  Through curriculum compacting, eligible students will be introduced to the Seventh Grade Pre-Algebra core content standards during his/her sixth grade year. (Please see the section below entitled, E2 Tier II,  for a detailed explanation of the minimum scores that must be met during your child’s 6th grade year.)  Then, if your son or daughter continues to achieve at this accelerated rate and meets or exceeds the minimum qualification scores, upon successful completion of the Sixth Grade E2 Program, students will take Eighth Grade Algebra I, during his/her seventh grade year. Later, at the end of the seventh grade year, students who have continued to meet the minimum qualification protocols, will take the high school math placement exam in an attempt to qualify for Honors Geometry in grade 8.

    How does my child qualify?
    Entry Protocols: E2 Tier I:
    Students must meet each of the following requirements in order to be eligible to join the E2 Math program: achieving Advanced Proficient status on the mathematics portion of the NJASK (which is a score greater than or equal to 250), achieving a score of 4 in each category of the Math Grade Level Rubric, attaining a score of at least 90% on the Grade Level Math Final, earning a final math report card average of 90% or higher for the year, and scoring greater than or equal to 121 on the Test of Mathematical Abilities for Gifted Students (TOMAGS).
    Entry Protocols: E2 Tier II:
    (Please note: this advanced program is only available to our 7th and 8th grade students)
    All of the initial qualifications are the same, however, in order for a student
    to achieve E2 Tier II status at the end of his/her sixth grade year, he/she must meet or exceed several more rigorous scoring requirements.  These more challenging protocols include all of the following: earning a score of at least 92% (as opposed to 90%) on the Grade Level Math Final, maintaining an Math Average of 92% or better (as opposed to 90%) (calculated as an average of his/her sixth grade year) achieving a score greater than or equal to 260 on the mathematics portion of the NJ ASK (thereby exceeding the minimum Advanced Proficient cutoff score of 250), and finally, achieving a score greater than or equal to 130 (as opposed to 121) on the TOMAGS.    

    What is the Test of Mathematical Abilities for Gifted Students (TOMAGS)?

    The TOMAGS is correlated with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NTCM) standards and is designed to identify students who have talent or giftedness in mathematics.  This test requires students to use mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills to understand how to communicate mathematically to solve problems.  The TOMAGS is a standardized norm-referenced test that utilizes open-ended responses rather than multiple-choice answers.  It asks students to use computation skills to solve problems in situations involving geometry, measurement, money, etc.  The raw score is converted to a final standard score or quotient based on the child’s age.  A score between 121 and 130 shows mathematical strength.  A score above 130 is considered to be exceptional.

    What if my child only missed the cut-off for E2 Math by one point?

    Missing the cut-off by one point is somewhat deceptive. It doesn’t actually mean that if your child had one more correct answer on the test that he/she would have qualified.  Since all raw scores are converted to scale scores then placed on a scoring matrix and assigned point values, earning one more point on the scoring matrix isn’t as easy as it sounds.  He/she would have needed many more points on his/her actual raw score (the number of correct responses on the test) to earn just one more point on the scoring matrix.

    If my child doesn’t qualify for E2 Math, how will that affect his/her opportunities next year?

    Your child will receive a strong academic experience in the regular math setting and, if he/she excels, will again earn the opportunity to test for E2 Math again next year provided that he/she meets each of the other qualification protocols. Every year all students will be reviewed and those who have demonstrated exceptional performance and ability scores will have the opportunity to join the program.

    What if my child finds the regular classroom too easy?

    There may be times where a student has not advanced sufficiently to meet the qualification protocol of the E2 Math program, but he/she may already have attained mastery of some of the content in the regular classroom.  In that case, the parent should discuss the child’s achievement level with the classroom teacher and if needed, your child’s math teacher will be able to differentiate the regular classroom math instruction to better meet your child’s needs.

    Exiting the E2 Program:

    Occasionally there may be students who are identified for the E2 Math Programs who do not perform at expected standards.  Before a final decision is made, the student’s homeroom teacher, the E2 teacher, and/or the school administrator will speak with the student’s parent/guardian and explain the procedural safeguards to request a review of the decision to exit the student.

    The following guidelines specify when a student may be exited from either Tier of the E2 Math Program:
    •    Parental request for student to discontinue participation
    •    Repeated failure to complete assigned work
    •    Substantial difficulty in understanding work that other E2 students are able to complete independently
    •    Consistent pattern of low grades
    •    Behavioral concerns
    •    Frequent inappropriate disruptions which prevent other participants from advancing to higher  levels of mathematical understanding

    Our placement procedures are both rigorous and accurate but in the event that your child finds either tier the E2 Math placement too demanding, we will work together to place him/her into a more suitable academic situation.

    As we continue to develop each tier of our E2 Math Program, please be aware that we will be continuously evaluating the protocols, materials, and curriculum.  While we are confident in the success of E2, we also anticipate that this on-going evaluation of the program will result in some changes in the future.  It is our goal that any modifications made will allow us to improve the overall effectiveness of this program, which will ultimately enhance your child’s E2 experience.

    If you have any need for further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me at dsarmir@cpsnj.org or visit my personal teacher webpage.

    Ms. Amy Santacross
Last Modified on August 26, 2011