Welcome to MA

Congratulations on your acceptance to Marin Academy! We are thrilled that you will be joining our community and look forward to seeing you when in-person gathering is prudent once again.

Communication regarding Welcome Day will come out shortly, and communication regarding athletics, buses, and meal plans will come out later this summer. Both Placement and Welcome Day are mandatory for all incoming students. We look forward to welcoming you to campus, very soon!
All incoming ninth graders will take placement exams between 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24 and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 25.
For parents and guardians of incoming 9th graders: April 17 from 3:00–3:40 p.m. We will share and answer questions around placement testing, partnering, our math/world language/arts programming, and more. Presented by KaTrina Wentzel, Academic Dean, along with Rachel Kernodle (Math Chair), Aida Schafer (World Language Chair), and Annie Elias (Performing Arts Chair). If you missed the webinar, please click here to watch the recorded version.
Parents/Guardians: please begin by filling out this short questionnaire (only once per student) no later than April 16th. This will help make sure we are sending appropriate placement tests, which you will receive via the email you list in the questionnaire at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24. If your child currently has a completed psychoeducational evaluation and is interested in receiving accommodations for their at-home placement testing, please send a copy of the evaluation for review to MA's Director of Learning Services, Rebecca Gustin, at rgustin@ma.org or mail to her attention. Please note that without this, any request for accommodations for placement testing will be denied and students should not receive extra time on their placement exams; receiving accommodations at a current school does NOT automatically qualify a student for accommodations at MA.
All students interested in entering the Music Program (which includes courses in Foundations, American Roots, World Music, and Contemporary Music Seminar) need to complete the application through the link provided here. Based on sheer numbers, please understand that not all students who apply to our music program will necessarily get in. Also, please note that except for very rare cases (based on instrumentation, not experience level), all incoming freshmen and transfer sophomores in our music program are placed into our required Foundations course.
For those interested in our dance program, Information about Marin Academy Dance Company (MADCO) can be found here, and the application to join MADCO is here. Students who have intermediate dance experience/training (in any dance form) will be placed in MADCO I/II in their first year. For students new to dance, the Dance Program offers Taiko. There is no application for Taiko.
All incoming ninth graders will take placement exams between 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24 and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. Math placement exams are required for all students. World Language exams are only required if a student wants to see if they will place beyond Level 1 in French, Mandarin, or Spanish. For students taking two exams (math and world language), they should make a plan with their parent/guardians regarding how they want to space them out. (Take the exams back-to back? Spread them out in a day? Math one day and world language the next?) All exams are timed and need to be proctored by a parent/guardian or adult in the home. If an at-home proctor isn’t possible, please let us know so we can make alternative arrangements. Placement exams, specific to each student, will be delivered via email at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, April 24, to the parent/guardian email address provided in the questionnaire.
Math Exam
The math placement test is designed to provide the math department with information about each incoming student’s current knowledge and skills. There is one placement test given for placement into Advanced Algebra I, Geometry, and Geometry Honors and a separate assessment for placement into Algebra II/Algebra II Honors and Precalculus/Precalculus Honors. (The assessment each student is given is based on information provided by current math teachers and coursework; students and families do not choose.) Each assessment includes a variety of free-response questions, and we ask students to show all of their work so that we can see their thought process and solution techniques. No calculator is allowed.
When evaluating results, in addition to a student’s overall score, the math department looks carefully at the specific content skills and gaps demonstrated on the assessment to help inform placement decisions. The department then compares this information with details from the student's teacher recommendation, their current course and grade, and, in some cases, standardized test scores. It is always our goal to place students into the course that will best meet them where they are and allow for long-term success in their math sequence. (See information below about handling, taking, and submitting your math exam.)
World Language Exam
The language placement test is a comprehensive written exam that evaluates students’ proficiencies in their mastery of grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing in French, Mandarin, or Spanish. Placement tests are scored by the language department and individual results are our reference points to ensure students are enrolled in courses where they will be challenged appropriately. As students are coming from many different language curricula across schools and outside programs, our goal is to match their current written and oral fluency with MA’s specific curriculum. For any student hoping to start at level 1—either new to the language or wanting more time to review the foundation of a language they’ve studied—no placement exam is necessary.
On the questionnaire, you will self-select which exam you are interested in taking. To determine which placement test might be most appropriate for you/your child, please read the language placement requirements for each language and level: French, Mandarin or Spanish. We also recommend that you (student and family) ask your/your child’s current teacher for their recommendation. Please note, however, that the student's result on the placement test—not a current teacher recommendation—will determine placement and enrollment in a language course. (See information below about handling, taking, and submitting your language exam.) Also, given these unique circumstances, we will be giving short, in-class evaluations at the beginning of the school year and the department may adjust a student’s placement to a more appropriate level, depending on their performance.
Student Expectations for Taking At-home Placement Tests
  1. Take no more than 60 minutes on each test, unless you receive notification from MA that you are approved for extended time as a result of a diagnosed learning difference (you will be given this information ahead of time). Please have a parent or guardian be your timekeeper.
  2. Do not consult any websites, textbooks, reference materials, or other people during your exams. We need to find out what you know about math or a world language in order to place you into the most appropriate level. Consulting outside references may mean that you are incorrectly placed, which could lead to significant struggles next year as well as potentially lower grades.
  3. Calculators are NOT allowed on the math assessment.
  4. For math: write all your answers on each test. Show your work completely on each problem — don’t just show the final answer.
  5. If you do not know how to answer a problem or question, do not leave it completely blank. Instead, write something like, “I do not know this,” or “This looks familiar, but I can’t remember what to do.” In world language, it’s better to put something down, even if you worry it’s not the right vocabulary or tense. In math, it’s better to make a partial attempt at solving a problem even if you aren’t sure about your approach.
  6. When you are done with each test, please take a photo of/scan every page, including the cover page. (Tip: If you have an Apple device, the included Notes app can serve as a scanner. Open a new or existing note → Tap the camera icon and tap Scan Documents → Place your document in the camera's view → Use the auto-capture option by bringing your doc into the viewfinder or use the shutter button or one of the volume buttons to capture the scan. → If needed, adjust the corners of the scan by dragging, then tap Keep Scan → You can scan more pages if needed, tap Save in the bottom right corner when you’re all done.)
  7. Send your scan/photos as attachments in an email to mathplacement@ma.org or languageplacement@ma.org (respective to the exam). Please include your first and last name (the name of the student) in the email as well.
  8. As with all testing, please keep any information on the exam private. Do not discuss its content with peers or others. Test security helps us ensure not just appropriate placement for each teen this year, but also for future years.
Parent/Guardian Expectations for Proctoring At-home Placement Tests
  1. Print off the exams that will be sent to you in another email. If you do not have access to a printer, please let us know before April 16. Do not look at the exams other than to ensure they printed correctly, and avoid sharing any information you see (concept, language, directions) with your teen. (Note: it can be very hard, once you see what will be accessed, to not let it slip or to ask questions. In most proctoring situations, it is protocol for the proctor to avoid looking at the exam.)
  2. Ensure your child is set-up at a desk/table with pencils/pens, scratch paper, and water. When he/she/they express they are ready, provide the exam.
  3. Proctor/watch your child as they take the exam. Make sure they do not access any outside resources including websites, people, notes, books, etc.
  4. If your child has questions during the exam, please avoid answering any directly related to the test, including directions. (Part of the assessments is seeing if students are able to understand directions without additional prompting.) Instead, you can use the following: “I cannot answer any questions about the test. Take your time, and if you need to return to this section/question, that is okay.” Remind your teen, as is written on the expectations above, that it is better to make a partial attempt or to write something like, “I don’t know how to approach this,” than to leave something blank.
  5. End the exam at 60 minutes, whether or not your child has completed all sections/questions. (The only exception to this is if you have received notification from MA that your child is approved for extended time as a result of a diagnosed learning difference. Please make sure you fill out this questionnaire to start that process.)
  6. Help your child take photos/scan their exam and email to mathplacement@ma.org or languageplacement@ma.org (respective to the exam). Make sure your teen’s first and last name is in the email as well.
  7. As with all testing, please keep any information on the exam private. Do not discuss its content with peers or others. Test security helps us ensure not just appropriate placement for each teen this year, but also for future years.


KaTrina Wentzel

KaTrina Wentzel

Academic Dean and English Teacher
Rachel Kernodle

Rachel Kernodle

Math Department Chair
Aida Schäfer

Aida Schäfer

French Teacher & World Languages Department Chair
Annie Elias

Annie Elias

Performing Arts Department Chair, Theater Teacher