Academic Placement

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Academic Placement

Placement Test Requirements

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.

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).

Early Start Program

Entering resident first-year students who are deemed not proficient in English or math based on scores from pre-college examinations or who do not clear their “Conditionally-ready” status before July 01 must begin the remediation process by completing the Early Start Program the summer before their first regular term.

The goals of the Early Start Program are as follows:

  • To augment students’ preparedness in English and/or math before they begin fall quarter of their first year
  • To add an important and timely assessment tool in preparing students for college
  • To improve students' chances of successful completion of a college degree

Newly admitted first-time first-year students who are required to complete Early Start will be notified of their options for completing the program.

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