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Agnew, Morgan
Clark, Stella
Math Teacher
Foster, Halcyon
Lawrence, Kathryn
McCarthy, Jim
Millerick, Melissa
Reid, Amy
Swett, Karen


Math Honors Placement

Honors Math Placement Update:

Thank you to all our hard-working mathematicians who took the placement test!  The results are ready and will be given out Friday 4/19.  You may pick them up from your math teacher.  Thank you for your patience.



1.  Why can't I see my score?

A:  There are many reasons the score is not provided.

  • The math department may use these problems again in the future and cannot risk the breech of test security.
  • This process mimics many assessments in high school and beyond (SATs, ACTs, APs and college placement exams) where only results, not specifics are provided.
  • Students who did not qualify on the first round (or second round) must re-study all topics and usually find benefit from probing deeper into each one - even concepts they thought they understood well.  This process encourages students to improve on all topics.

2.  Why is there a test at all?

A:  The honors placement test is not designed to be a "gatekeeper" for access to honors courses.  It is designed to ensure that students have facility with the content that is needed for success in the desired course.  The math department has worked hard to identify those skills based on students who have been and continue to be successful in honors courses compared with students who have struggled or had to drop.  Our goal is to be supportive (in giving opportunities for retests and in providing study material) while also messaging that mastery of the prior content is necessary for success in the next level course. 


3.  Why so few questions?

A:  The entire department was involved in the writing of the tests, lending a combined teaching experience of over 100 years, as to what skills were "essential, non-negotiable" skills for each level.  In focusing on only the essentials, we aim to give students a manageable amount of material to study, and also to clearly communicate what must be mastered.


4.  Is earning a qualifying score on the placement exam the only way to enter an honors course at TL?

A:  No. Students earning the qualifying score get priority placement, but students who do not earn a qualifying score may choose to pursue a waiver process (see below).  It is our experience that the vast majority of students who did not show mastery of essential concepts on the placement exam can improve their readiness for a given course given ample time studying essential concepts, potentially with the support of tutors and other extra resources.


Per Education Code, any student may choose to take an honors course at TL, provided the prerequisites for coursework have been met.  We are excited when students want to challenge themselves in math and we agree that talent and potential do not always show themselves on a test.  Parents and students can sign a waiver acknowledging the school's placement recommendation, and indicating that they wish to override it and choose an honors math course.  Placement for students who "waiver" into honors courses will be subject to available space.











Current 8th / Incoming 9th 

Current 8th graders who wish to enroll in Geometry Honors must earn an A in Algebra 1.



Current TL Students

If you are interested in Geometry Honors, Algebra 2 Honors (including the Double-Block course), or Pre-Calculus Honors, you must take the placement exam for the course. Though the testing process is open to all students, honors classes are ideal for students that love challenging mathematics course work and can justify their solutions to math problems clearly with words, diagrams, equations, and graphs.  These students are expected to complete on average 45 minutes to 1 hour nightly on homework, projects, and other supplemental work.  Students are expected to show perseverance in solving complex problems.  


Placement Test Sign-ups:

Sign up with your math teacher by Friday, March 1st, 2019.


Placement Test Details:

  • Bring ID with you.
  • All tests are 20 questions or less.
  • Support materials are available below. Use these BEFORE you take the test.
  • There is no extended time for any sitting.
  • If you are not happy with your score there is only one opportunity for a retake; see dates below.  This is also the only alternate testing date if you cannot make the first administration.
  • Your math teacher will notify you of testing location once you sign up.
  • You may leave when you have finished the test.


Placement Test: Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Option 1: Lunch (11:35 - 12:10)

Option 2: 7th Period (2:00 - 2:35)

Option 3: After 7th Period (3:45 - 4:20)

*It is expected that you take the placement test on this date.


Retake/Alternate Date: Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

Option 1: Tutorial (10:00 - 10:35)

Option 2: Lunch (12:20 - 12:55)

Option 3: After School (2:45 - 3:20)

*This date is meant for anyone who did not pass the exam on the first administration and would like to try again.  Note that it is the only retake. (This date could also serve as the testing date for anyone who had an unforeseen absence on 3/19/19, however there will be no second administration of the exam after this.)


Study Materials:  (Although very representative, this is not an exhaustive list of skills)

Essential Skills for Placement in Honors Geometry, Honors Algebra 2 or the Double-Block Course

Essential Skills for Placement in Honors Pre-Calculus



The Mathematics Department at Terra Linda offers a variety of courses designed to meet each student’s needs and ability. 

  • Algebra Readiness (Course for English Learners only; supports given to become grade-level proficient)
  • Algebra A (1st Semester of Algebra 1, taken freshman year)
  • Algebra B P (2nd Semester of Algebra 1, taken sophomore year)
  • Algebra 1 P (Full course offered in 1 year)
  • Geometry P (Full year Geometry course with hands on focus and minimal emphasis on proofs)
  • Geometry Honors (Full year Geometry course for students interested in STEM pathway)
  • Intermediate Algebra 2 P (2nd year UC Algebra course for non-math/science pathway; Seniors have priority enrollment)
  • Algebra 2 P (2nd year UC Algebra course)
  • Algebra 2 Honors (2nd year UC Algebra course for Calculus pathway)
  • Algebra 2 Honors/Pre-Calculus Honors Double-Block Course (Exclusively for Juniors entering Algebra 2 interested in Calculus pathway; course requires 2 periods of math in scheduling, one odd period and one even period).
  • Pre-Calculus P (Intended for non-STEM majors; alternative to Statistics) 
  • Pre-Calculus Honors (Intended for STEM majors. Introduction to Calculus included)
  • Statistics P (Emphasis on probability and hands-on activities)
  • AP Calculus (Advanced Placement in College level Calculus AB course)
  • AP Statistics ((Advanced Placement in College level Statistics course)

Students must earn a C- or higher in the prerequisite course in order to advance.  More information about prerequisites can be found in the Terra Linda Curriculum Guide on the Counseling page.  Placement information can be found below.  


Sample Math sequences at TLHS


Example 1:

Algebra A → Algebra B → Geometry P → Intermediate Algebra 2

Example 2:

Algebra 1 → Geometry P → Algebra 2 P → Statistics or Pre-Calculus

Example 3:

Honors Geometry → Honors Algebra 2 → Honors Pre-Calculus → Calculus AB or AP Statistics

Example 4:

Algebra 1 → Geometry P → Alg 2 Honors/Pre-Calc Honors Double-Block → Calculus AB or AP Statistics

Example 5:

Algebra Readiness → Algebra A SDAIE → Algebra B SDAIE → Geometry P

Math FAQ