Mathematics Placement Guidelines for Students and Academic Advisors
1.0 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 un-proctored 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 Challenge Exams and Post-Placement exams are given through the
Please contact Yevgeniya Rivers
for further information or to set up a Challenge or Post-Placement Exam.
2.0 Verifying your math placement - Placing into a higher MATH class
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.
2.1 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 70% 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.
A copy of the Math Zone
Challenge Exam Policy
is available online and should be consulted by students prior to
scheduling a Challenge Exam.
3.0 Post-Placement Assessment - Placing out of your MATH class
The Department of Mathematics and Physics provides for a formal process of
Post-Placement review of Math Placement results whenever a student or their
advisors requests to place the student out the Math Department class into
which they placed via the on-line Math Placement Exam. Such requests are
permitted whenever the student's Math Placement course is above the level
required by their program or department (please see page 2, Note 5 in the
attached document on the
For example, a student having a
MATH 1115 placement who is required only to take MATH 1108, may opt out
of MATH 1108 entirely, or opt to take a department alternative core course
if their Program only requires that students complete MATH 1108 as the
highest level Mathematics Department course (MATH prefixed course).
This option, however, is permitted only if the student can demonstrate
math proficiency at the level that is needed to place out their Program's
math requirements. In this example, a student wishing to
opt out of MATH 1108 and any higher MATH course would be required to
pass the Post-Placement Exam for MATH 1108. They would need a
MATH 1110, MATH 1115 or MATH 1117 Placement to apply for Post-Placement
Students whose Math Placement is below the level required by their
Program may not take the Post-Placement Exam. Instead, they may apply
to take the Challenge Exam.
3.1 The Post-Placement Exam
The Post-Placement Exam provides a comprehensive assessment of the student's
math skills at the level needed to place out their Program's math requirement.
The Post Placement exam consists of a
proctored 50 minute exam covering a range of topics and consisting from
10 to 15 questions.
There is no partial credit for any of the
problems, and the student must attain a score of 50% or higher to be considered
passing. Unlike the Challenge Exam,
here are no allowance for re-doing the exam. Students are provided
access for up to two weeks to the course content in order prepare for the exam,
if they request it. Exams are scheduled at regular intervals each semester,
i.e., unlike the Challenge Exams given in the Math Zone, these exams are
instead conducted on schedule established by the Math Zone.
Students who fail the exam are required to take math at their Math Placement
Exam level, or to make an appointment with the Department of Mathematics
and Physics for consideration of any down-placement requests.