Monday, August 11, 2008

Woes from the Placement Test

Our placement test spits back levels ranging from 1 to 8 that tell you which math classes you are eligible to take. I'm told that if you answer C to every question, then you'll get a level 2 on the placement exam. You need to score at level 4 (or higher) or have passed College Algebra to take Calculus Lite. You need to score at level 6 (or higher) or have passed pre-calculus to take Real Calculus. Yesterday I cleaned up the database and started working on revising the perl script that enforces placement. I emailed about 20 students from Calculus Lite who had scored at level 1 and level 2.
  1. Student at level 1 protested my claim that he was unprepared for Calculus Lite. Sent me a transcript from community college showing that he took Intermediate Algebra in Fall 2007. Note: Intermediate Algebra, not College Algebra.

  2. Student at level 2 insists that he should be able to take Calculus Lite because he took AP Calculus in high school. Things beyond his control kept him from taking the AP exams. Things beyond his control kept him from getting the score he deserved on the math ACT. Things beyond his control kept him from doing well on our placement exam. He's sure that he'll pass calculus.

  3. Student at level 2 wants to take Calculus Lite anyway because she got a 99% in honors calculus in high school. Her advisor said this would be OK. Her advisor is from the statistics department. Yes, the same statistics department that won't let students enroll in Intro to Real Stats unless they've passed Calculus Lite (and will drop them without telling the students). My snarky side wants to ask her advisor if this student can just go ahead and take Intro to Real Stats since the advisor seems to think that the high school calculus class was worth something.