Dr. Jeremy Penn – Oklahoma State University

The New OSU Math Placement Exam
Jeremy Penn, Ph.D.
Director, University Assessment and Testing
Improve student
success by placing
students in the math
course that is the best
match for their abilities
University Assessment and Testing
As students take more and more diverse
paths into our courses, correct placement
becomes even more important
Correct placement is only one aspect of
student success
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Why are we moving away from the
ACT Math for Placement?
A student has an ACT
Math score of 24.
Will he or she be
successful in MATH
1513 (college algebra)?
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Data from 4 recent semesters:
287 students with ACT Math scores of 24 took
MATH 1513
25% of these students earned an ‘A’
33% of these students earned a ‘D,’ ‘F,’ or ‘W’
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70% of the students who earned a ‘D,’ ‘F’, or
‘W’ in MATH 1513…
…had an ACT Math score of 19 or higher
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● 69% of the students
who earned A, B, or C
had ACT Math of 22 or
higher (would leave
out 506 students)
● 42% who earned D,
F, or withdraw had
ACT Math of 22 or
higher (would let in
440 students)
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Other Concerns with ACT
• Does not provide detailed diagnostic
• ACT Math may not represent the content and
methods used in your math courses
– May be a better fit for some classes than others
• Many students may not take math as seniors
– ACT does not offer opportunities to refresh math
• Limited on-demand availability
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Committee to Explore Enhancements
to Math Education Curriculum
• Formed by the Provost in fall, 2010
• Included faculty members from multiple
colleges plus representatives from UAS
(now LASSO), UAT, and public schools
• Provided multiple recommendations
• One recommendation was to improve
math placement and provide opportunities
for students to refresh their math skills
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OSU Math Placement Exam
• ALEKS (Assessment of LEarning in Knowledge
Spaces) vendor selected to provide math
placement exam
• Online, computer-adaptive test
• Includes diagnostic information in 8 areas
• Student access to learning modules and multiple
• Free response format like that used in math
• Used by many other institutions nationally
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Topics Covered
Real numbers
Equations and inequalities
Linear and quadratic functions
Exponents and polynomials
Rational expressions
Radical expressions
Exponentials and logarithms
Geometry and trigonometry
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Who should take OSU Math
Placement Exam?
• All incoming freshmen and all new transfer
– Incoming students with CLEP / AP / Concurrent
enrollment credit should still take the placement
• Continuing students who desire enrollment in
the impacted courses who are NOT currently
enrolled in one of the impacted courses or its
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Do I need the exam
• Students with ACT Math scores 19 or
greater (SAT Math 460 or greater) do NOT
need the exam proctored
• Students with ACT Math scores 18 or lower
(SAT Math below 460) MUST take a
proctored version of the exam
– May take an un-proctored practice exam but this
count against the 5 total attempts allowed in an
11-month period
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How do I find a proctor?
• Proctoring for OSU Math Placement (ALEKS)
is available for free at the OSU-Stillwater
Testing Center
• Online (distance) proctoring is available for a
fee (about $35) from ProctorU
• Other options are available
– Visit http://placement.okstate.edu
– Call 405-744-5958
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Where can I take this exam?
• Proctoring not required:
– Home
– IT Labs (MSCS 108 (24 hours), CLB 407/408,
Kerr-Drummond and Bennett)
– Check-out laptop (must download ALEKS plug-in)
• Proctoring required
– Contact OSU-Stillwater Testing Center
• Plan for at least 2 hours for the exam
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Technical problems
• Biggest issue from the pilot was using
email address instead of username
– Instructions on http://placement.okstate.edu
• Students must have JAVA enabled and
download and install ALEKS plug-in
– Try a different computer or one of the IT labs
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How much does it cost?
• Free!
– (Cost covered by
Assessment Fee)
• Non-OSU-Stillwater
proctoring may
require a fee
• More than 6 weeks of
access to learning
modules requires an
additional fee
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New Model for Placement:
Vertical Integration
• Alignment between 0-level courses (e.g.,
0123), placement mechanism, and 1000level courses
– Use the placement exam as a final exam in
the 0-level course
– Alignment of content, response format, and
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New Model for Placement:
Horizontal Integration
• Connection to non-math courses that use
math knowledge
• Communication with students from
multiple sources (advisors, instructors,
assessment office, etc.)
• Availability and access to scores and
diagnostic information
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Supporting Student Success
• Designing other supports around the new
placement exam
– Bridge programs
– Targeted tutoring
– Self-study
– Math Learning Success Center
– Others
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Additional Information
[email protected]
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