Department of Mathematics
and Statistics

Mathematics and Science Center, Room 368
146 Library Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4479
(location map)
phone: (248) 370-3430
fax: (248) 370-4184

Hours:
Monday–Friday: 8:00–11:59 a.m. and 1:00–5:00 p.m.

Placement and Prerequisites

PLACEMENT TEST ADMINISTRATION UPDATE ON JULY 20, 2020:

Oakland University has adopted a new Mathematics Placement assessment, ALEKS PPL, with remote proctoring by ProctorU, which students can take from their own home. The test is now available, and students can follow the instructions below to get started and schedule their initial proctored placement assessment. As in the past, students can still be placed into their initial mathematics course by SAT/ACT score, without taking the placement assessment.

We do, however, want to make students aware of the following study regarding placement. 

Based on a report from Oakland University's OIRA (Office of Institutional Research and Assessment), using ACT scores to place into courses is as good as any other placement test that we have used.


Each student enrolling in a course offered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics must meet the prerequisites for that course. Students who do not meet the prerequisites will not be permitted to enroll or remain enrolled in the course.

The prerequisites may be met in a number of ways: by completing the stated prerequisite course(s) with a grade of 2.0 or better; by completing an equivalent course at another university, college, or community college with a grade of 2.0 or better; through a departmental placement test; or in some cases by placement based on a sufficiently high score on the mathematics portion of the ACT.

Grades below 2.0 in prerequisite courses are not acceptable, nor are high school courses. In rare cases, the department may grant permission to enroll in a course without the formal prerequisites; students with unusual circumstances should consult the instructor of the course or a department adviser.

The placement test covers the algebra and trigonometry that are taught in good high school college-preparatory programs. Students who are deficient in these prerequisite subjects must take the appropriate prerequisite course(s) — or their equivalent at another university, college, or community college — before attempting any higher-level courses. Successful performance on a placement test will enable a student to start with a higher-level course without having to take courses that are earlier in the sequence.

A short "step-by-step guide" to taking the test:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pO87ENjFjxPAflYcrZC-kpWNJc7HAxD6N3UYzUKXNzI/edit?usp=sharing

An extended FAQ about the exam:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cRlC_aMYH-uwn2hiGXho8TKIgPhyvREAloeGoJhNniw/edit?usp=sharing

A list of placement test cut score:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RcUTaf9JFDZX73ynk0dmjOYeJnr4ipdHe48kPb6XDw0/edit?usp=sharing

More Information
To see a listing of course placement by ALEKS score, ACT score or SAT score click here.
In most cases students who have taken a college math course should use that as the basis for placement, rather than ACT scores or the placement test (since college course grades are better indicators of the students' level of knowledge). For example, if a student passed (with at least a C or 2.0) Elementary Algebra at OU (MTH 0661 (061)) or an equivalent course elsewhere, then that student has placement I, and it would usually not be appropriate to take the placement test in order to bypass MTH 0662 (062). Two noteworthy exceptions are as follows:
  1. Statistics courses (such as MAT 1580 at OCC) do not have any relevance to meeting prerequisites for further mathematics courses — it is the algebra background that is important, not the material learned in a statistics class. Therefore, for example, STA 2220 (225) or its equivalent does NOT meet the prerequisite for MTE 2110 (210) or MTH 1221 (121). 
      
  2. Students who have taken MTH 1221 (121) and 1222 (122) but not MTH 1441 (141) and who now wish to take MTH 1554 (154) (a typical reason being a change of major from business to engineering) need to take Placement Test C, since MTH 1221 (121)-1222 (122) totally ignore trigonometry, which is used in MTH 1554 (154) (the placement test is half trig). For further information, please contact a Department adviser (phone 248-370-3430).

A student who feels that he or she has been placed too high may choose to take a more elementary course in order to brush up on rusty skills. Students who feel they have been placed too low should talk to the instructor of the course they wish to take, or to the departmental adviser, but only rarely are exceptions made to the strict enforcement of prerequisites. (The reason for this policy should be clear: we want students to succeed in our courses, and success is virtually impossible for someone without the necessary prior mathematical skills and knowledge. The class proceeds on the assumption that students already know the background material, and it would not be fair to other students if ill-prepared students spent valuable class time asking about prerequisite material.)

Advanced Placement Program
Students who have studied calculus in high school and have taken the Educational Testing Service's Advanced Placement tests may be able to get credit for MTH 1554 (154) and/or MTH 1555 (155). Scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the AB Calculus test (or the AB sub-score of the BC test) earn 4 Oakland University credits for MTH 1554 (154); such students are ready for MTH 1555 (155). Scores of 3, 4, or 5 on the BC Calculus test earn 8 Oakland University credits for MTH 1554 (154) and MTH 1555 (155); such students are ready for more advanced courses, such as MTH 2554 (254), MTH 2775 (275), APM 2555 (255), STA 2226 (226), or APM 2663 (263); the choice depends on the student's program and should be made in consultation with an academic adviser. Scores of 1 or 2 on the AP tests earn no credit or placement.

Frequently Asked Questions
For an extended FAQ about the ALEKS placement test at Oakland University, click here.

Placement into mathematics and statistics courses can usually be based on your score on the mathematics portion of the ACT.  In some cases students may take a placement test, and that is what is discussed below.

Do you still administer placement tests during the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" period?

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics is offering the placement test remotely. Please see the "step-by-step guide" to taking the test.

Also, we want to make students aware of the following study regarding placement. 

Based on a report from Oakland University's OIRA (Office of Institutional Research and Assessment), using ACT scores to place into courses is as good as any other placement test that we have used.

How do I find out if I need to take a math placement exam?
Incoming freshmen and transfer students will receive information about placement in the packet of materials sent by the admission office. For more information, please refer to the First Year Advising Center.

I took MTH 0662 (062) and didn't get a 2.0 or better. Can I now take the Placement Test in order to qualify for MTH 1221 (121)?

No. The placement process through ACT scores and a short test are imprecise at best. If you have taken a course like MTH 0662 (062) (or MTH 0661 (061), or MTH 1441 (141), or equivalent courses at other colleges), then this will be a much more accurate gauge of what you know and whether you are ready for subsequent courses, such as MTH 1221 (121) (or MTH 1441 (141), or MTE 2110 (210), or ...). We do not permit students to take the Placement Exam in such circumstances. You need to repeat MTH 0662 (062) and receive a 2.0 or better.  

When is the best time during a semester to take the test?
You should take the placement exam before you register for your first mathematics course. 

How do I get more information?
Call the Department of Mathematics and Statistics office (248-370-3430). If the secretary cannot answer your question, you will be referred to a department faculty member for academic advising.