Ohio University

Math Placement at Ohio University

Frequently Asked Questions

How Math Placement Works

Quantitative Skills. You must demonstrate or acquire an acceptable level of quantitative skills to satisfy graduation requirements. The University uses your ACT or SAT math score to determine your skill level for placement or exemption unless the Tier I quantitative skills requirement has been satisfied by transfer or advanced placement credit. Students in some majors are required to have a math placement regardless of transfer or advanced placement credit in order to meet requisite requirements.

Ohio University students without ACT scores, SAT scores, advanced placement, or a transferable math course must take a math placement test, which is available through the ALEKS placement system. Students who would benefit academically from beginning in a higher math class than their original placement indicates are also welcome to use the ALEKS placement system. For guidance in determining if you should take the ALEKS Math Placement, or to determine your program requirements, please contact your academic adviser.

Math Placement Levels—And How to Improve via ALEKS

The following information describes the developmental levels and what options you have for improving your placement through the ALEKS placement system.

Note: If you already have credit for an Ohio University math course, you are not eligible to take the ALEKS placement.

Developmental Level (DV)

  • No test taken
  • ACT Math Score: 0-19
  • SAT Math Score: 0-519
  • ALEKS Score: 0-45

First course: You must complete MATH D004 Intermediate Algebra and Pre-Algebra or MATH D005 Intermediate Algebra before enrolling in a Tier I quantitative skills course.

Eligible for ALEKS: Yes, you can take the ALEKS placement test to try to improve your placement level.

Note: The highest placement you can get via an unproctored ALEKS test is PL2. In order to get a PL3, you would have to take the test in a proctored environment and score 76 or more.

Placement Level 1 (PL1)

  • ACT Math Score: 20-23
  • SAT Math Score: 520-579
  • ALEKS Score: 46-60

First course: Any of the following Tier I–fulfilling courses, including MATH 1060 Quantitative Reasoning, MATH 1090 Consumer Mathematics, MATH 1200 College Algebra, MATH 1250 Introductory Game Theory, PSY 1110 Elementary Statistical Reasoning, or PHIL 1200 Principles of Reasoning

Eligible for ALEKS: Yes, you can take the ALEKS placement test to try to improve your placement level.

Note: The highest placement you can get via an unproctored ALEKS test is PL2. In order to get a PL3, you would have to take the test in a proctored environment and score 76 or more.

Placement Level 2 (PL2)

  • ACT Math Score: 24-29
  • SAT Math Score: 580-709
  • ALEKS Score: 61-75

First course: Level 1 courses as well as these additional Tier II-fulfilling courses, including MATH 1300 Pre-Calculus, MATH 1350 Survey of Calculus for Business, MATH 2500 Introduction to Statistics, or PSY 2110 Statistics for Behavioral Sciences

Eligible for ALEKS: Yes, you can take the ALEKS placement test to try to improve your placement level.

Placement Level 3 (PL3)

  • ACT Math Score: 30-36
  • SAT Math Score: 710-800
  • ALEKS Score: 76-100

First course: This placement level satisfies General Education Tier I requirements. If your major requires that you enroll in a quantitative skills course, placement at Level 3 indicates preparation for MATH 2301 Calculus I and any course in Level 1 or 2.

Not Eligible for ALEKS: You are not eligible to take the ALEKS test because you are already at the highest placement level.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Math Placement Level Important?

  • All Ohio University students with an ACT/SAT score have a Math Placement Level automatically assigned to them.
  • The Placement Level determines the student’s initial math course unless the university’s Tier I quantitative skills requirement has been satisfied by transfer or Advanced Placement credit.
  • Students without ACT or SAT scores, Advanced Placement credit, or a transferable math course must take an online Math Placement Test using the ALEKS math placement system.
  • Math placement sometimes is used for courses in departments other than Mathematics, and the levels are often referred to as “DV” or “PL” followed by a number.

Who Should Take the Placement Test?

Ohio University recommends that all students with a Developmental Math Placement (DV) and some students in certain majors take a Math Placement Test (regardless of transfer or Advanced Placement credit) in order to begin in the most advantageous math course. ALEKS not only gauges students’ Math Placement Level, but also gives them tools to improve their placement.

The student’s OHIO academic adviser is often the best resource for determining if a student needs to use the ALEKS system for math placement.

Note: If you already have credit for an Ohio University math course, you are not eligible to take the ALEKS placement.

ALEKS is trusted by colleges and universities across the nation to help students find the best placement.

Do I Need to Take the Math Placement Test?

The need to take the Math Placement Test depends on your major and your current placement level.

See Placement Tests for Incoming OHIO Students [EXCEL]. This chart assumes you are not transferring credit to Ohio University for a course in that subject area. If you are transferring in credit, or if you have any questions, please check with an academic adviser.

Can I Improve my Math Placement Level?

Yes, you can! If you have never taken an Ohio University math course and you would like to improve your current Math Placement level, you can take the Math Placement Test and use the Learning Modules in ALEKS to improve your Math Placement Level.

How Do I Take the Math Placement Test?

If, after reviewing the “Do I Need to Take the Math Placement Test” information above, you determine that it is right for you, you can log onto the ALEKS placement system anytime. The test is available in English and Spanish. You will need your Ohio University username and password to log in. If you are unable to do so, please contact your academic adviser or the Mathematics Department for help. Your academic advisor’s contact information is in your MyOHIO center, and the math department can be reached at (740) 593-1254 during regular business hours.

When Should I Take the Math Placement Test?

If you would like to improve your Math Placement Level by taking ALEKS, please do so as soon as possible and at least ten days before you arrive for your orientation. Completing the Math Placement Test prepares you to leave orientation with the best possible schedule. It still may be helpful to you even after orientation.

I Took the Math Placement Test. How Do I Know What my New Placement Level Is?

Your ALEKS scores are updated in the registration system every 12 hours.

I Took the Math Placement Test…But Did Not Receive the Score I was Hoping for. Now What?

Great news! You can take the online Math Placement Test for a total of three attempts. After your first attempt, you have two retake attempts. If you are unhappy with your first score, we encourage you to study using the ALEKS system and take the test again. You will need to wait at least 48 hours, and you will need to spend at least three hours studying in the learning module before the system lets you retake the test. Your likelihood of improving your math placement increases as you study more hours in ALEKS. There is no limit to the number of hours you can study between placement attempts. We strongly encourage you to retake the test if you find yourself scoring between 1-10 points away from the next placement level. You can do it!

I Took the Math Placement Test…and I am Satisfied with my Score. What’s Next?

If you are a new student or transfer student, your orientation staff at your campus will help advise you into you a great schedule. If you are a current Ohio University student who has never taken a math class at Ohio University, contact your advisor to ensure that you enroll in the most appropriate math course for your major. The choice of the course in which you should enroll (if any) depends on your major, University Catalog of Entry, and Math Placement Level. Be sure to discuss all course selections with your academic advisor, whether you are a new student at Orientation or are a current student. The chart below shows many, but not all, options for coursework depending on your placement. It may help you determine what math course options will be best for you.

I am having trouble logging onto ALEKS to take the Math Placement Test OR I still have more questions about the Math Placement Test. Who can I contact for help?

If you are having any technical difficulties or have further questions, please contact the Department of Mathematics at (740)593-1254 or mathematics@ohio.edu. Additionally, your academic advisor may be able to help you.

What Should I Do if I Get an “Unauthorized User” Error?

If you receive an “unauthorized user” error when attempting to log into ALEKS, there could be several reasons for this:

  • Students with credit for a math course from Ohio University are not permitted to take the placement test.
  • Only undergraduate Ohio University students are permitted to take the test (no faculty, staff, etc.).
  • Students can only take the test as early as one month prior to attending BSO.

If you believe you should be able to take the test and you get this error screen, please contact the Department of Mathematics at (740)593-1254 or mathematics@ohio.edu.

Information about a Proctored Placement Level 3 Test

Un-proctored testing is appropriate for most students. However, students who would like to pursue a Placement Level 3 from either having a Developmental Placement, a Placement Level 1, or no placement assigned, need to take the test in a proctored environment. Here are the instructions and things you need to know about pursuing a proctored test.

Steps to take the test in a proctored setting:

  • Log on to https://www.ohio.edu/oit/teaching/testing-and-surveys/testing/campus-proctoring and determine which campus is the right one for you. Any OHIO student can use any testing center for ALEKS Math Placement.
  • Follow the directions under “How To” for proctoring to set up an appointment.
  • Be sure to choose “Computer Based” for the testing format.
  • Go to the testing center at your scheduled time, and be sure to bring a photo ID with you.
  • You have up to 3 hours to complete the test, but many people complete it in 1.5 hours.

Helpful Things to Know About Taking the Math Placement Test in a Proctored Environment

  • The latest appointment available any day is 2 p.m.
  • You may not bring a calculator. ALEKS will provide an onscreen calculator if you need one for a particular problem.
  • The proctor will provide you with scratch paper and pencils.
  • Be sure you know your OHIO ID and password to get into ALEKS.
  • No testing is available during finals week, due to the heavy volume of final exams in the Testing Center.
  • Personal items are not allowed in the testing space, so your personal items will be stored in a locker.
  • At least 48 hours should have passed between your last test and your scheduled proctored test.
  • If you were required to complete any learning modules, please do that prior to taking the proctored test.
  • Placements are not exemptions. Each of OHIO's placement tests are designed to identify the course in which a student should begin. A placement does not exempt a student from a required course.