Mathematics Placement Guidelines for Students and Academic Advisors
The Mathematics Assessment Process
In the Spring of 2013 the Department of Mathematics and Physics implemented
with the support of IT an in-house Mathematics Placement Assessment package.
The assessment is intended to assist the Department and the University in
placing students at the appropriate level to start their course work in
mathematics at UNH.
The Math Placement Assessment is given online on Blackboard, and is intended
to gage student performance and attainment in mathematics ranging from
basic math and algebra through calculus.
The assessments are given in an unproctored setting intended to put the student
at ease about taking another math test. Students should not use a calculator
or any other mathematical aid in taking the assessment as the purpose is to
discern their correct starting level in mathematics. It is important that
students understand the importance of the assessment without
becoming overly anxious over it.
There is no need to prep for the assessment, however if the student
has had any large gap in time since having last done any mathematics,
it would be worthwhile to review some of the previous math courses
the student has taken. Once the assessment is completed, the student
will have a math assessment score that is converted into a math placement
in terms of the courses offered in the Department. These are
MATH 1103 Fundamental Math, MATH 1104 Quantitative Reasoning,
MATH 1108 College Math, MATH 1110 College Algebra, MATH 1115 Pre-Calculus,
or MATH 1117 Calculus. These are described more fully on our
Math Curriculum page.
If there are any technical problems during the assessment process, please
contact Alan MacDougall
in IT to have the assessment reset.
The usual concerns are, 'What if I placed too low?', or 'What if I placed too high?'. Our assessment policies are designed to provide a correct placement of all students, and in cases where the initial assessment and placement
seems inconsistent with other existing testing data on the student, this is
flagged for advisors to be aware of. Most significantly, if a student feels
they placed too low on their assessment, they should contact the Department.
In these cases we can provide the student an opportunity to take a
Mathematics Challenge Exam.
Students may not re-take the online Mathematics Assessment.
The only exception is the case of a technical failure during their
attempt to take of the assessment on Blackboard, as outlined in
the previous section.
If a student feels they should have a lower placement, they will need
to consult with their advisor and the Department.
The requested placement must be consistent with their other standardized
math results and the level of math they have taken prior to coming to
UNH, e.g., we will not accept students with high placement scores
with a good or excellent math background and preparation taking a lower level
math class to earn an easy A. It is a waste of time for the student
and it is unfair to the other students in the class who are genuinely
trying to work through challenging material.
The Challenge Exam
The Challenge Exam is a more extensive assessment of the student's math
skills at the level just below where they feel they should be placed.
For example, if a student believes they should be allowed to
start in Calculus I, the Challenge Exam provides an in-depth
assessment of the student's math background in pre-calculus.
If the student passes the exam with a score of 60% or higher, they are
allowed to go on to Calculus I, in this example.
There are Challenge Exams for MATH 1103, MATH 1108, MATH 1110, MATH 1115.
It is also important to note that students have two opportunities to pass
a Challenge Exam. Students are given 2 hours for a Challenge Exam.