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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 a combination of your High School Grade Point Average (HSGPA) and/or 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 one or more of:

  • An ACT/SAT score
  • High School Grade Point Average advanced placement, or
  • A transferable math course must take a math placement test, which is made available through your Blackboard student account by contacting cas.undergrad@ohio.edu. In rare instances, and in conversation with the student's adviser, a math placement test may be used to determine a new math placement recommendation if there is sufficient cause to believe that the calculated placement does not reflect an appropriate placement.

NOTE: Math Placement tests are for initial math placement only and can not be used after a student has credit for an Ohio University math course. Students with a calculated placement may only move up one placement level from that calculated placement (e.g. from a PL1 to a PL2).

For guidance in determining if you should take the Blackboard Math Placement test, or to determine your program requirements, please contact your academic adviser.

Math Placement Levels

Developmental Level (DV)

First course: Before enrolling in a DV course, talk to your adviser about taking a co-requisite "L" course with a Placement Level 1 course. By doing so, you will begin a semester ahead in your quantitative coursework and have access to support to help you be successful.

Otherwise, you must complete MATH D004 Intermediate Algebra and Pre-Algebra or MATH D005 Intermediate Algebra before enrolling in a Tier I quantitative skills course.

Challenging your DV placement: You are eligible to take the PL1 Math Placement Test if you do not have credit for a math class at Ohio University. Please consult your adviser about an "L" course option before taking the placement test. Placement tests should be used only as a last resort.

NOTE: Students with a DV placement are eligible to take only the PL1 Math Placement Test and can only move up to a PL1 placement.

Placement Level 1 (PL1)

First course: Any of the following courses appropriate to your major:

  • MATH 1060 Quantitative Reasoning
  • MATH 1090 Consumer Mathematics
  • MATH 1101 Elementary Topics in Math I
  • MATH 1200 College Algebra
  • MATH 1250 Introductory Game Theory
  • MATH 1500 Introductory Statistics
  • PSY 1110 Elementary Statistical Reasoning
  • PHIL 1200 Principles of Reasoning

Challenging your PL1 placement: You are eligible to take the PL2 Math Placement Test if you do not have credit for a math class at Ohio University. Placement tests should be used only as a last resort because your calculated placement is already designed to support your success while challenging you academically.

NOTE: Students with a PL1 placement are eligible to take only the PL2 Math Placement Test and can only move up to a PL2 placement.

Placement Level 2 (PL2)

First course: Placement Level 1 courses mentioned above as well as these additional courses requiring PL2 (check with your academic adviser for the most appropriate option):

  • MATH 1300 Pre-Calculus
  • MATH 1350 Survey of Calculus for Business
  • MATH 2500 Introduction to Statistics
  • PSY 2110 Statistics for Behavioral Sciences

Challenging your PL2 placement: Placement tests should be used only as a last resort because your calculated placement is already designed to support your success while challenging you academically.

You are eligible to take the PL3 Math Placement Test if you do not have credit for a math class at Ohio University. The PL3 Math Placement Test must be taken in a proctored setting such as the testing centers located on Ohio University campuses. Contact cas.undergrad@ohio.edu to arrange this option.

Placement Level 3 (PL3)

First course: This placement level satisfies the Quantitative Reasoning Foundation under the BRICKS general education 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. Consult your academic adviser for your best option.

NOTE: Students must have an ACT Math of 30 or SAT Math of 690 to receive a calculated placement of PL3. High School GPA is not used to determine PL3 placement.

Challenging your PL3 placement: Since PL3 is the highest placement, challenging this placement is not an option.

No Placement Level (NoPL)

Students who do not have a calculated placement, either because they do not have a High School GPA or ACT/SAT score are eligible to take the NoPL No Placement Math Placement Test on Blackboard. Contact cas.undergrad@ohio.edu for assistance registering for this test.

Students' placement based on the NoPL test is determined according to the following scores:

  • 0-5 points: DV Placement
  • 6-12 points: PL1 Placement
  • 13-18 points: PL2 Placement

Students scoring 19-24 should take the PL3 Math Placement Test (see above) in a proctored setting to determine if a PL3 math placement is appropriate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Math Placement Level Important?

All Ohio University students with a High School GPA (HSGPA) and/or ACT/SAT score have a math placement level automatically assigned to them. That placement is calculated based on a measure of the likelihood of a student's success in a course at a given level and is the most valid measure of success available. Trust that placement unless special circumstances suggest otherwise.

The Placement Level determines the student’s initial math course unless the University’s Quantitative Reasoning requirement has been satisfied by transfer or Advanced Placement credit.

Students without a High School GPA, ACT or SAT score, Advanced Placement credit, or a transferable math course must take the "No Placement Placement Test" on Blackboard. Please contact cas.undergrad@ohio.edu to arrange this.

Math placement is sometimes 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) first consider enrolling in a PL1-level course with the co-requisite "L" course option rather than taking the placement test.

The calculated math placement score is the most valid measure of your likelihood of success. It is based on analysis of thousands of Ohio University students just like you and their success in quantitative courses. This placement level results from a combination of HSGPA and ACT/SAT together, or individually and awards the student the most favorable placement based on available data.

Ohio University's math placement formula is designed to bet on the student's success in a math course using tutoring, supplemental instruction and/or co-requisite "L" course options.

Occasionally there are special circumstances in which students may either not have a high school GPA or ACT/SAT test and would need to take a placement test to determine a placement. It may also be that circumstances not reflected in HSGPA or ACT/SAT merit a placement test to challenge the calculated score.

The student’s OHIO academic adviser is often the best resource for determining if a student needs to use the Math Placement Test.

Note: If you already have credit for an Ohio University math course, you are not eligible to take the Math Placement Test. The Math Placement Test is an initial placement test only.

Do I Need to Take the Math Placement Test?

For most students, the answer is "no."

Please talk with your academic adviser, but generally you should trust the calculated math placement level.

If you are transferring in credit, or if you have any questions, please check with an academic adviser to see how that transferred credit may impact your placement into a quantitative course at Ohio University.

How Do I Take the Math Placement Test?

If you:

  • Do not have a calculated placement score, or
  • Do not have credit for an Ohio University math course, or
  • After discussing your placement with your adviser you have sufficient cause to believe that your calculated placement isn't correct, then you should take the Math Placement Test. Contact cas.undergrad@ohio.edu to arrange to take the test.

Prior to July 1, Ohio University used the ALEKS PPL placement system. Students who were enrolled in the ALEKS PPL test will have access for up to six months after they took their first ALEKS test. After July 1, 2021, Ohio University uses the Blackboard Math Placement Test. To take the Math Placement Test, please contact cas.undergrad@ohio.edu.

Does the Math Placement Test Have a Time Limit?

We recommend allowing 60 minutes to take the Blackboard Math Placement Test. Students must complete the test in one sitting. If you are taking the PL3 Math Placement Test, your test will be proctored and you will have exactly 60 minutes to take the test unless you have University-approved accommodations that allow otherwise.

How Many Attempts Do I Get?

Two. But you should allow at least 48 hours between attempts to give yourself the best chance of success.

What May I Use During the Test?

The Blackboard Math Placement Test is designed to not need a calculator, though its use is permitted. Additionally, we recommend having blank scratch paper and a writing utensil for scratch work. In proctored settings, the scratch paper will be collected and destroyed at the end of your session.

What Accessibility Features Does the Blackboard Math Placement Test Have?

The Blackboard Math Placement Test is screen-reader friendly.

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

Students taking the Blackboard Math Placement exam will be advised of the required score when they log in to the test. At the end of the test, students will receive their score. Allow at least two to three business days for your score to be updated. Students who enrolled in the ALEKS Math Placement (prior to July 1, 2021) have their scores automatically updated in the registration system every 12 hours. ALEKS placement scores are as follows:

  • Placement Level 2: 61-75
  • Placement Level 1: 46-60
  • Developmental: 0-46

Note: Students wishing to receive a PL3 placement must take their test in an approved proctored setting.

How Will I Know When my Placement Is Uploaded and Available for Me to Use for Class Registration?

To confirm your placement, refresh your DARS, then look under Placements on page 1.

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

The Blackboard Math Placement Test allows two attempts. Students should give themselves at least 48 hours between attempts and complete their test when they are rested. Students enrolled in the legacy ALEKS Math Placement Test have a total of three attempts must wait at least 48 hours and spend at least three hours studying in the learning module before being eligible to retake the test. Access to the ALEKS PPL Placement Test expires after six months from the date of the first test.

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 adviser 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 adviser, whether you are a new student at orientation or are a current student.

I Am Having Trouble Logging into my 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 cas.undergrad@ohio.edu. Additionally, your academic adviser may be able to help you.

Information about a Proctored Placement Level 3 Test

Only students taking the PL3 Math Placement test (those who have a calculated PL2 placement or those who took the No Placement Placement test and scored 19-24 correct) need to take the test in an approved proctored environment. Ohio University campuses have approved testing centers for this purpose.

Contact cas.undergrad@ohio.edu to arrange this. Un-proctored testing is appropriate for all other Math Placement Tests (PL1, PL2, and NoPL).