What Does My Math Placement Score Mean And How Do I Raise It?
The Math Placement Exam is designed to determine two things:
- whether you have the necessary background to take any Q or M course, and
- which type of Q course would be most appropriate (roughly, liberal arts math, per-calculus/statistics, or calculus)
The Math Placement Exam is administered by the Math Department, not the Math Workshop. Once you have received your math placement score on the exam, you may need to raise your score, and that is done in the Math Workshop.
MATH PLACEMENT SCORING SYSTEM
The score you receive on the Math Placement Exam gives us information on two areas of mathematics necessary for success in math and math related courses: problem solving skills and algebraic manipulation skills. Your two-digit math placement score reflects those two types of skills:
- the first digit shows the level of problem-solving skills, which will be either a 1 or a 2.
- the second digit denotes the level of algebraic skills, which will be indicated with a 1, 2, 4, or 5 (3 is used internally by the Math Workshop)
You may need to raise the first digit, the second digit, or both digits depending on your two-digit score, and the possible levels you can obtain on the math placement test are 11, 12, 14, 15, 21, 22, 24, & 25. (Note: the difference between say level 21 & 22 is not one point. It may be much more, but your raw scores are converted to levels.)
The first digit (ten’s place) in your placement level will be a 1 if you did poorly on the problem solving part and 2 if you did well on that part. This is the easiest area to fix. You need to take and pass the Math Basic Skills test. When you pass the test, the “1” (in the ten’s place) will be upgraded to a “2” on your placement level.
The second digit (one’s place) designates your algebraic skills level. A level 5 means you’re ready for calculus, a 4 is ready for pre-calculus (elementary functions), a 3 is ready for statistics, and a 2 can get you in most “M” (math intensive) courses. 1 means you need to improve your algebra skills before you are eligible to take any Q or M course, and this requirement is met by completing an on-line math course called “ALEKS.” If you want to take a course with a higher algebraic level then you have, you will need to do some self-paced algebraic review with “ALEKS” as well. This will take much more time to rectify than the problem solving. How long depends on how much you remember, and how much time you have to put into it.