I'm looking for an assessment tool to ability group 4th and 5th grade students, in particular setting a "top" group. This group would receive more enrichment, less practice on concepts and a faster pace of instruction. Our goal is to figure out by the end of 5th grade who can successfully complete 6th, 7th and 8th grade curricula in 2 years and then take Algebra 1 in 8th grade. Preferably pencil and paper, something I can give 3 or 4 times a year to "confirm" the groupings and provide data to parents. I know there are loads of reading assessments that give a grade level equivalent or reading level, such as Gates-McGinity.-I'm looking for the same thing for math. Anybody have any experience with anything like this?
I have taught gifted students for over 25 years. The test that I found most useful is the TOMAGs, Test of Mathematical Abilities of Gifted Students (see below for more info)
I have used this test along with many other instruments to decide who would benefit from being in a group that would go faster, receive enrichment and spend less time practicing what they've learned. I have found that this test makes hairline distinctions between the top students and even if the children aren't gifted - it will show me who is strongest. Occasionally it identifies students that no one else would have thought belonged and these students do very well.
One disadvantage of the test is that there is only edition of the test for students in 1st-3rd and in 4th-6th. You would have to use another test to reassess. The test does have a scale so you can compare students in different grades and different ages.
Of course using one test is tricky and you should use it as part of your whole assessment including teacher recommendations, previous record, and any standardized tests given.
TOMAGS is an acronym for Test Of Mathematical Abilities of Gifted Students. There is more information about it in the four page PDF excerpt here, which is described as follows:
Ryser, G., & Johnsen, S. K. (1998). Test of mathematical abilities for gifted students: Examiner's manual. Prufrock Press.