Academic Placement

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Academic Placement for Students Admitted Fall 2018 - Spring 2019

Assessment of Academic Preparation and Placement

The CSU requires that all entering freshmen students be evaluated in terms of their preparation to complete first-year courses in written communication and mathematics/quantitative reasoning. This evaluation will utilize the broadest set of multiple measures including high school grades as well as performance scores on standardized exams such as the ACT or SAT. This evaluation of academic readiness is not a condition for admission to the CSU, but it is an important step for determining the best course placement for entering students.

Successful completion of general education (GE) written communication and mathematics/quantitative reasoning courses in the first year of CSU enrollment establishes a foundation for continuous learning. Unless the requirements have been completed prior to the student's first term on campus, freshmen shall enroll in GE written communication and mathematics/quantitative reasoning courses appropriate to each student’s major and skill level, as demonstrated by applicable systemwide standards utilized in the review of academic preparation.

Students whose pre-college skill assessments indicate academic support will be needed for successful completion of GE written communication or mathematics/quantitative courses shall enroll in appropriate college-level, baccalaureate credit-bearing courses that strengthen skills development to facilitate achieving the appropriate general education student learning outcomes. Supportive course models may include, among others, co-requisite approaches, supplemental instruction or “stretch” formats that extend a course beyond one academic term. In these approaches, instructional content considered pre-baccalaureate may carry a maximum of one unit and shall be offered concurrently with a college-level, baccalaureate credit-bearing course.

Multiple Measures Assessment for General Education Written Communication

Based on the systemwide assessment standards for GE written communication below, freshmen shall enroll in appropriate GE written communication courses during their first academic year unless the requirement has been fulfilled.

  • Students who have met the following requirements have fulfilled the GE Written Communication requirement in preparation for advanced courses:
    • A score of 3 or above on either the Language and Composition examination or the Composition and Literature examination of the College Board Scholastic Advanced Placement Program
    • Completion and transfer to the CSU of the credits for a college course that satisfies the CSU GE requirement in written composition, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C- or better
  • Students who have met the following requirements are ready to enroll in a course that meets the GE Written Communication requirement
    • A result of ‘Standard Exceeded: Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in English’ earned on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam
    • A score of 550 or higher on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section of the new SAT Reasoning Test sponsored by the College Board
    • A score of 500 or higher on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section of the old SAT Reasoning Test sponsored by the College Board
    • A score of 22 or above on the ACT English test
    • Completion of an approved 12th grade, year-long, English course with a grade of C- or better AND a score of 510 – 540 on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section of the new SAT Reasoning Test or a score of 460-490 on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section of the old SAT Reasoning Test
    • Completion of an approved 12th grade, year-long, English course with a grade of C- or better AND a score of 19-21 on the Act English test
    • A result of ‘Standard Met: Conditionally Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in English’ on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam AND completion of an approved 12th grade, year-long, English course with a grade of C- or better
    • Achievement of a weighted high school GPA ≥ 3.3 OR a high school GPA ≥ 3.0 and completion of an approved 12th grade, year-long, English course (AP, IB, ERWC) or Honors English or more than 5 years of high school English
  • Students who have met the following requirements are ready to enroll in a course that meets the GE Written Communication requirement and includes supported instruction:
    • Completion of 4+ years of standard college preparatory high school English courses AND a score of 510-540 on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section of the new SAT Reasoning Test or a score of 460-490 on the Evidence Based Reading and Writing section of the old SAT Reasoning Test or a score of 19-21 on the ACT English test
    • Achievement of a weighted high school GPA ≥ 3.0 and 4 years of standard college preparatory high school English courses
  • Students who have met the following requirements are required to participate in the Early Start Program and are ready to enroll in a course that meets the GE Written Communication requirement and includes supported instruction:
    • A score less than 510 on the Evidence Based Reading Writing section of the new SAT Reasoning Test or a score less than 460 on the old SAT Reasoning Test AND achievement of a high school grade point average of ≤ 3.0
    • A score less than 19 on the ACT English test and the achievement of a high school GPA of ≤ 3.0

Multiple Measures Assessment for General Education Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning

Based on the systemwide assessment standards for GE mathematics/quantitative reasoning below, freshmen shall enroll in appropriate general education mathematics/quantitative reasoning courses during their first academic year unless the requirement has been fulfilled.

  • Students who have met the following requirements have fulfilled the GE Math/Quantitative Reasoning requirement and are permitted to enroll in the next level of math:
    • A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Calculus AB or Calculus BC tests
    • A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Statistics test
    • A score of 4 or above on the International Baccalaureate Mathematics Higher Level (HL)
    • A score of 50 or above on the College Board College Level Examination Program (CLEP) Calculus, College Algebra, College Algebra-Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, or Trigonometry
    • Completion and transfer to the CSU of the credits for a college course that satisfies the CSU General Education requirement in mathematics/quantitative reasoning, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C- or better
  • Students who are STEM majors who have met the following requirements are ready to enroll in a course that meets the GE Math/Quantitative Reasoning requirement
    • A result of ‘Standard Exceeded:  Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in mathematics’ on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam
    • A score of 570 or above on the mathematics section of the new SAT Reasoning Test
    • A score of 550 or above on the mathematics section of the old SAT Reasoning Test
    • A score of 550 or above on the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (level 1 or level 2)
    • A score of 23 or above on the ACT Mathematics test
    • Completion of a 12th grade mathematics course beyond algebra 2 with a grade of C- or better and a score of 520-560 on the new SAT mathematics test or a score of 490-540 on the old SAT mathematics test
    • Completion of a 12th grade mathematics course beyond algebra 2 with a grade of C- or better and a score of 20-22 on the ACT Mathematics test
    • A result of ‘Standard Met:  Conditionally Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in mathematics’ on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam AND completion of a 12th grade mathematics course with a grade of C- or better
    • Achievement of a weighted high school GPA ≥ 3.7
    • Achievement of a weighted high school mathematics GPA ≥ 3.5 and 5+ years of mathematics or quantitative reasoning courses
    • Achievement of a weighted high school mathematics GPA ≥ 3.5 and completion of an approved senior year course
  • Students who are Non-STEM majors who have met the following requirements are ready to enroll in a course that meets the GE Math/Quantitative Reasoning requirement
    • A result of ‘Standard Exceeded:  Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in mathematics’ on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam
    • A score of 570 or above on the mathematics section of the new SAT Reasoning Test
    • A score of 550 or above on the mathematics section of the old SAT Reasoning Test
    • A score of 550 or above on the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (level 1 or level 2)
    • A score of 23 or above on the ACT Mathematics test
    • Completion of a 12th grade mathematics course beyond algebra 2 with a grade of C- or better and a score of 520-560 on the new SAT mathematics test or a score of 490-540 on the old SAT mathematics test
    • Completion of a 12th grade mathematics course beyond algebra 2 with a grade of C- or better and a score of 20-22 on the ACT Mathematics test
    • A result of ‘Standard Met:  Conditionally Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in mathematics’ on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam AND completion of a 12th grade mathematics course with a grade of C- or better
    • A result of ‘Standard Met:  Conditionally Ready for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in mathematics on the CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP exam) and 4 years of mathematics or quantitative reasoning courses 
    • Achievement of a weighted high school GPA ≥ 3.7
    • Achievement of a weighted high school GPA ≥ 3.5 and 4+ years of mathematics or quantitative reasoning courses
    • Achievement of a weighted high school mathematics GPA ≥ 3.0 and completion of 5+ years of mathematics or quantitative reasoning courses
    • Achievement of a weighted high school mathematics GPA ≥3.0 and completion of an approved senior year course
  • Students who are STEM majors who have met the following requirements are ready to enroll in a course that meets the GE Math/Quantitative Reasoning requirement and includes supported instruction:
    • Achievement of a high school mathematics GPA ≥ 3.3
  • Students who are Non-STEM majors who have met the following requirements are ready to enroll in a course that meets the GE Math/Quantitative Reasoning requirement and includes supported instruction:
    • Achievement of a high school mathematics GPA ≥ 3.3
    • Achievement of a high school GPA ≥ 3.0
  • Students who have met the following requirements are required to participate in the Early Start Program and are ready to enroll in a course that meets the GE Math/Quantitative Reasoning requirement and includes supported instruction:
    • A score less than 510 on the mathematics section of the new SAT Reasoning test or a score less than 490 on the mathematics section of the old SAT Reasoning test AND a high school GPA ≤ 3.2
    • A score less than 20 on the ACT Mathematics test AND a high school GPA ≤ 3.2

Academic Placement for Students Admitted Summer 2017 - Summer 2018

The California State University utilizes scores from pre-college examinations to determine first-year placement in English and mathematics. Based on test scores, each entering undergraduate is considered to be ready, conditionally ready, or not ready for college-level courses. Those who are not ready must take the CSU English Placement Test (EPT) and the CSU Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) examination after admission and prior to enrollment. These placement tests are not a condition for admission to the CSU, but they are a condition for enrollment. The examinations are designed to identify entering students who may need additional support in acquiring the college entry-level English and mathematics skills necessary to succeed in CSU baccalaureate-level courses.

English Placement Test (EPT)

Purpose of the EPT

The EPT is designed to assess the level of reading and writing skills of undergraduate students entering Cal Poly so that they can enroll in appropriate composition courses. Those undergraduate students who do not demonstrate college-level skills on the EPT are then advised to enroll in courses designed to help them attain those skills. Students may take the EPT only once. It may not be repeated.

Who Must Take the EPT

All non-exempt entering undergraduates must complete the EPT prior to enrollment in any course, including developmental writing courses.

An exemption from the EPT is granted to students who present proof of one of the following:

  • A CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam result of Standard Exceeded: “Ready” for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in English
  • A new SAT score of 550 or above on the Evidenced Based Reading and Writing section*
  • An old SAT score of 500 or above on the Critical Reading section of the old SAT Reasoning Test
  • A score of 22 or above on the ACT English Test
  • A score of 3 or above on either the Language and Composition or Composition and Literature examination of the College Board Scholastic Advanced Placement Program
  • Completion and transfer of credits for a California community college English course that satisfies the CSU General Education requirement in English Composition, provided such a course was completed with a grade of C or better.

* In March 2016, the College Board began administering a new SAT. The new SAT scores are different than the old SAT scores. The CSU will accept both old and new SAT scores for students graduating in 2020 and prior. Students graduating after 2020 will be required to take the new SAT.

An exemption from the EPT may also be granted to students who have a CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) test result of “Conditionally Ready” for the CSU based on a score between 510 - 540 on the new SAT Evidenced Based Reading and Writing Section, a score between 460 - 490 on the old SAT Critical Reading section, or a score of 19 - 21 on the English section of the ACT Test.

Those who are conditionally ready for college-level English coursework may be exempt from taking the EPT if they present proof of the following:

  • A grade of “C” or better in an approved yearlong 12th grade English course.

Students who do not clear their “Conditionally Ready” status will need to participate in the CSU’s Early Start Program and may opt to take the EPT. Any student who takes the EPT must earn a score of 147 or above in order to be placed in a college-level English course.

Registration Holds/Disenrollment

CSU Trustee policy requires that all non-exempt students take the EPT examination after admission and before enrollment in the CSU. At Cal Poly, failure to take the EPT examination or submit proof of a documented exemption before enrollment results in a hold on registration privileges and may lead to disenrollment from the University.

Students subject to the EPT requirement are notified by email. Additional information about the EPT is available on the University Writing and Rhetoric Center website: writingcenter.calpoly.edu/content/ept/index.

Remediation

All students who score below 147 on the EPT are required to enroll in Cal Poly’s Writing and Rhetoric Stretch Program during their first year of coursework. Students who do not make adequate progress in completing the program during their first year of enrollment face disqualification from the University.

In the Writing and Rhetoric Stretch Program, students complete two quarters of coursework as a cohort with the same instructor. Coursework is taken in the following sequence:

  • First, students enroll in either ENGL 92 Basic Writing or ENGL 93 Essay Writing for English as a Second Language Students
  • After earning credit for either ENGL 92 Basic Writing or ENGL 93 Essay Writing for English as a Second Language Students, students enroll in ENGL 96 Writing and Rhetoric Tutorial concurrently with either ENGL 134 Writing and Rhetoric or ENGL 133 Writing & Rhetoric for English as a Second Language Students.

Note: Failure to complete successfully ENGL 92/ ENGL 93 or ENGL 96 results in a grade of F in ENGL 134/ ENGL 133.

Upon successful completion of the Writing and Rhetoric Stretch Program, students fulfill their remediation requirement and earn credit in GE Area A1.

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Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) Exam

Purpose of the ELM

The Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) Examination is designed to assess and measure the level of mathematics skills acquired through three years of rigorous college preparatory mathematics coursework (Algebra I and II, and Geometry) of students entering the California State University (CSU). Students may take the ELM multiple times.

Who Must Take the ELM

The CSU ELM must be completed by all non-exempt entering undergraduates prior to enrollment in any course, including remedial courses.

An exemption from the ELM is granted to students who present proof of one of the following:

  • A CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam result of Standard Exceeded: “Ready” for CSU or participating CCC college-level coursework in mathematics
  • A new SAT score of 570 or above on the mathematics section of the new SAT*
  • An old SAT score of 550 or above on the mathematics section of the old SAT Reasoning Test
  • An SAT Subject Test score of 550 or above on the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (level 1 or level 2)**
  • A score of 23 or above on the ACT Mathematics Test
  • A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Calculus AB or Calculus BC
  • A score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Statistics examination
  • Completion and transfer to CSU of a California community college course that satisfies the requirement in Quantitative Reasoning, provided such a course was completed with a grade of “C” or better

*In March 2016, the College Board began administering a new SAT. The new SAT scores are different than the old SAT scores. The CSU will accept both old and new SAT scores for students graduating in 2020 and prior. Students graduating after 2020 will be required to take the new SAT.

**NOTE: there were no changes to the SAT Subject Tests; therefore, the cut score for the Subject Test in Mathematics (levels 1 or 2) remains the same.

An exemption from the ELM may also be granted to students who have a CAASPP Early Assessment Program (EAP) test result of “Conditionally Ready” for the CSU based on a score between 520-660 on the mathematics section of the new SAT Test, a score between 490-540 on the mathematics section of the Reasoning, or a score between 20 - 22 on the mathematics section of the ACT Test.

Those who are conditionally ready for college-level mathematics courses may be exempt from taking the ELM if they present proof of:

  • A grade of “C” or better in an approved yearlong 12th grade math course.

Students who do not clear the conditional status will need to participate in the CSU's Early Start Program and may opt to take the ELM. Any student who takes the ELM must earn a score 50 or above in order to be placed in college-level mathematics classes.

Registration Holds/Disenrollment

CSU Trustee policy requires that all non-exempt students take the ELM examination after admission and before enrollment in the CSU. At Cal Poly, failure to take the ELM examination or submit proof of a documented exemption before enrollment results in a hold on registration privileges and may lead to disenrollment from the University.

In addition, students who do not demonstrate requisite competence are required to enroll in appropriate remedial or developmental programs during the first term of enrollment and each subsequent term until such time as they demonstrate competence. Students who do not demonstrate proficiency within the first year of enrollment face disqualification from the University.

At Cal Poly, students may not enroll in any college-level mathematics or statistics course without satisfying the ELM requirement.

Information about the ELM is mailed to all students subject to the requirement. This information is also available from the ELM/MAPE Office 805.756.2268, or online at: http://www.math.calpoly.edu/elm.

Early Start Program

The Early Start Program serves CSU admitted freshmen who have not demonstrated proficiency in written communication and/or mathematics/quantitative reasoning as determined by systemwide placement standards. Participation in the Early Start Program is required for students needing skills development in these areas; students will be expected to enroll in a written communication course or a mathematics/quantitative reasoning course (but not both) during the summer period prior to the start of the fall term. Students required to participate in the Early Start Program may choose to enroll at any CSU campus; the earned credit will be transferred seamlessly to the student’s destination campus. 

The goals of the Early Start Program are to: 

  • Better prepare students in written communication and mathematics/quantitative reasoning before the start of the fall semester of the freshman year;
  • Add an important and timely assessment tool in preparing students for college; and
  • Improve the opportunity for students to successfully complete their college degrees.

Cal Poly Mathematics Placement Examination (MAPE)

The Cal Poly Mathematics Placement Exams are diagnostic exams given by the Mathematics Department to place students who have satisfied the ELM requirement in the appropriate college-level math course. The MAPE is not intended for all students, so please read the following information carefully.

Precalculus MAPE

Students who anticipate taking Trigonometry or Calculus (MATH 119, MATH 141, MATH 161, or MATH 221) must pass the precalculus MAPE unless they have presented proof of one of the following exemptions:

  • a new SAT score of 620 or above on the mathematics section of the new SAT
  • an old SAT score of 600 or above on the mathematics section of the old SAT Reasoning Test
  • an SAT Subject Test score of 600 or above on the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (level 1 or level 2)
  • a score of 26 or above on the American College Testing (ACT) Mathematics Test
  • a score of 3 or above on the College Board Advanced Placement Mathematics (Calculus AB or BC) examination
  • completion of MATH 117 or MATH 118 at Cal Poly or transfer of a college course equivalent to MATH 118
  • Transferable credit from another College/University in a course equivalent to MATH 118.

NOTE: For MATH 141 , students must also have credit for college or high school trigonometry, completed with grade C or better.

Intermediate Algebra MAPE

Students who anticipate taking Precalculus Algebra (MATH 118) must pass the intermediate algebra MAPE unless they have presented proof of one of the following exemptions:

For MATH 118:

  • a new SAT score of 570 or above on the mathematics section of the new SAT
  • an old SAT score of 550 or above on the mathematics section of the old SAT Reasoning Test
  • an SAT Subject Test score of 550 or above on the SAT Subject Test in Mathematics (level 1 or level 2)
  • a score of 23 or above on the American College Testing (ACT) Mathematics Test; or
  • a score of 65 or above on the ELM test.

NOTE: Students who have satisfied the ELM requirement and are planning to take MATH 112 or MATH 116 do not need to take the MAPE.

Students who need to take a math placement exam must do so prior to enrollment. The MAPE is free and offered regularly throughout the year. For information, please visit http://math.calpoly.edu/mape or contact the ELM/MAPE Office (805-756-2268).

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