My school initiated a math placement assessment that is required for all students before they can enroll in a math course. It actually tests students on Algebra and Trigonometry concepts as a means of assessing Calculus readiness. A student must score 70% mastery in order to enroll in Calculus and much lower for courses in Algebra and Trigonometry. Unfortunately a lot of students freak out when whey they think they failed the test when they see their scores, but even a score of 20% can get them placed into some math course. However, there are the occasional instances where a student receives a score that completely doesn’t match their previous math experiences… which suggests the use of “unapproved study aids” which the test clearly states are prohibited. And by “unapproved study aids” I actually mean a sibling or parent either helping the student or even taking the test for the student. It boggles my mind why someone would want to get placed into a math course they aren’t prepared for. Yet when I see that a student scored exceptionally well (and there are plenty of students who legitimately score well) and then I explain that their score suggests that they are well prepared for Calculus, the look on the student’s face usually gives it away. Usually they will try to frantically convince me why they should take College Algebra instead of Calculus even their test score suggests they are well beyond that level (or at least whoever took the test for them is at least beyond that level). It’s frustrating that it appears that students are actually cheating on a placement test before they even enroll in their first college course. It saddens me, but unfortunately I’m not terribly surprised.

# Unapproved Study Aids

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