Math Placement at CBU

Most majors in the School of Sciences and the School of Engineering require Calculus I. Some students may need to take a course in algebra and trigonometry in preparation for their calculus courses. Others may need to review basic algebra before taking the precalculus course.

Majors in the School of Arts and the School of Business do not require calculus with trigonometric functions. Students with these majors usually start with a course called Finite Math, but may take a course in precalculus. Students who qualify for Calculus I are encouraged to take that course.

Initial Placement

Initial placement into mathematics courses at CBU is based on the Math ACT score. The following table indicates the minimum Math ACT score needed to take a particular math course.

Course NumberCourse NameMath ACT
ALG 115 / 120Algebraic Expressions and Equations0 - 19
Math 103Fundamentals of Algebra20 - 22
Math 105Finite Math23 or above
Math 107 / 110Functions and Trigonometry23 or above
Math 117Precalculus26 or above
Math 129Functions with Engineering Calculus25 or above
Math 131Calculus I27 or above

ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL)

CBU offers ALEKS PPL for students who wish to place into a course beyond their initial placement. ALEKS Corporation is an educational knowledge and assessment research company. ALEKS PPL combines a research-based, accurate placement assessment with personalized learning tools. It allows students to test their mathematical ability and then refresh and strengthen these skills. The assessment has an open format that does not use multiple choice questions. The test covers a broad spectrum of mathematics and is fully automated and adaptive to the student’s knowledge and ability. The exact number of questions will vary from 20 to 35 due to its adaptive mechanism. The test is untimed. Most students need between 60 and 90 minutes to complete it. Most students find the experience substantially different from many standardized examinations. ALEKS is a tool to help students find math courses where they will have the best chance to succeed.

The ALEKS package at CBU costs $25. This fee includes four assessments and self-paced tutorials. The fee allows access to ALEKS for six months.

This package consists of 4 parts:

  1. Initial assessment
  2. Review and instruction based on that initial assessment
  3. Three retests prior to when classes begin
  4. Use of the instruction module to further strengthen skills for six months from the initial assessment.

Initial ALEKS Assessment

Students will take the initial assessment at the beginning of their ALEKS usage. This assessment will provide a valid score that may be used for placement.

Students should do as well as possible on their initial assessment. ALEKS uses artificial intelligence to determine which questions to ask based on previous responses. The responses on the initial assessment will determine what Learning Module will be included with their ALEKS package. That module will prepare students for the next level based on their initial score. If students do not try their best on the initial assessment, the Learning Module may instruct them on topics that they know well.

Additionally, students may derive a great deal of benefit from the knowledge profile that the initial assessment generates. If a student did not receive the minimum score for the desired mathematics course, the student may use the knowledge profile to identify areas of needed review.

Retesting with the ALEKS Assessment

Retesting with the ALEKS Assessment is included in the $25 total cost. Each student may take the ALEKS Assessment Exam up to four times. After an attempt, a student must complete some of the self-paced ALEKS tutorials, included in the ALEKS package prior to the next assessment. Students can see their progress during instruction and review topics that the software recommends.

Continuing ALEKS Review and Instruction

Even when a student receives the desired minimum score, that student may find it helpful to review materials which the assessment identified as a knowledge weakness. This preparation can prove valuable in the student’s first math course at CBU. Placement dates appear on the New Student Placement Testing page.

New Student Placement Testing

Proctored vs. Un-proctored

ALEKS has both proctored and un-proctored tests. Students may use an un-proctored test for practice. A test must be proctored to change placement. The first test is un-proctored to allow students to see the format of the tests. The remaining 3 tests are proctored to use for placement. These designations can be changed for individuals.

Cut-off Scores

The ALEKS scores necessary for placement in CBU courses follow. Students may take any course with a cut-off score lower than their score.

Course NumberCourse NameMath ACT
ALG 115 / 120Algebraic Expressions and Equations0 - 29
Math 103Fundamentals of Algebra30 - 45
Math 105Finite Math46 - 60
Math 107 / 110Functions and Trigonometry46 - 60
Math 117Precalculus61 - 75
Math 129Functions with Engineering Calculus55 - 75
Math 131Calculus I76 - 100