Policies that may affect your advisees taking MTH courses.

  • Department of Mathematics policy on enforced prerequisites:

Starting Fall 2014, the Math Department began enforcing a grade of C- in prerequisite MTH courses.  This minimum grade requirement is now listed in the catalog.

  • OSU Policy on Enforced Prerequisites:

Banner will allow students currently enrolled in the prerequisite course at OSU to register for the next course; however, shortly after course grades are submitted, students who do not earn at least a C- in the prerequisite course will be automatically dropped from their MTH course.  In this case, a student will need to either (a) retake the prerequisite course or (b) in the case of courses at or below the level of MTH 251, take the ALEKS math placement test and achieve the necessary score to place into the next course. 

For students:

How to take the ALEKS Math Placement Test:


Determine your eligibility to take a Math course, based on your ALEKS score:


Math Placement FAQs for Students:Several NEW Questions and Answers have been added!


FAQs for Advisors 

  • How do I view a student’s score? 

ALEKS math placement test scores appear in the New Student Profile in Web For Advisors under the test code MPAL, as well as in the SOATEST form in Banner.  The initial placement score, as well as retakes will all be displayed with the date the test was completed.  Another way to see a student’s score, if they’re there with you, is to have them log back into ALEKS or provide a printout.  

Both the ALEKS Math Placement Test score (MPAL) or the original Math Placement Test (MPT) will continue to be displayed, and students are placed according to the following score ranges:

Original Math Placement Test (MPT) Score Range

ALEKS (MPAL) Score Range Courses
0 - 4
0 - 14%

None (attend a community college or retake the ALEKS Math Placement Test)

5 - 10 15 - 29% MTH 065
11 - 16 30 - 45% MTH 103 or MTH 095 or below
17 - 23 46 - 59% MTH 211, MTH 111, or MTH 105 or below
24 - 32 60 - 74% MTH 245, MTH 241, or MTH 112 or below
33 - 40 75 - 100% MTH 251 or below


  • What if a student does not place into the Math course they want? 

Students may retake the ALEKS Math Placement Test up to 4 times, but only after spending at least 3 hours working in the ALEKS Learning Module (if students want to study more, they have unlimited access for the 6 month period following their first login to the Learning Module.)  More time spent using the Learning Module will significantly improve a student’s chances of increasing math course placement, as well as success in their math course.

When advising students, we encourage you to emphasize the importance of using the Learning Module to prepare for their math course. Even if a student is happy with their placement and does not intend to retake the math placement test, they will benefit from using the Learning Module.

  • ALL Freshman are required to take the ALEKS math placement test, but what if an incoming freshman already has college level math credit (via a community college, AP, IB or CLEP exam)?

The student will take the ALEKS math placement test prior to their START session and will be able to register for a math course at START, based on their placement score.  If the student later meets the prerequisite for a higher-level course, by virtue of credit awarded for college-level math work, AP, IB, or CLEP credit, they will be allowed to register for the new math course at that time.

  • Does a student have to take the highest course he/she places into?

Students who place high can always take a course that requires a lower ALEKS score.  For example, if they place into MTH 251, they may opt to take MTH 112 or MTH 111.

While some students benefit from taking a review course to build a more solid foundation, others find themselves frustrated and bored in courses too far below their current math knowledge.  The Math Department advising staff are available to consult with academic advisors and students about choosing math courses.

  • Can a student's ALEKS math placement score be used to test out of a math class that is required for their major or for the Baccalaureate Core?

No.  The purpose of the ALEKS math placement test is to determine which Mathematics course(s) a student is ready to take—it’s their opportunity to demonstrate that they’ve met the prerequisites for a given course.  Results on the ALEKS math placement test are never used to satisfy degree requirements. If a student wants to earn MTH course credit-by-examination, they may do so via the College Level Examination Program (Linn Benton Community College offers these exams).

  • A student's ALEKS score is too low to qualify them for the Mathematics course they want to take; however, they have met the prerequisite with previous coursework--will the student be able to move on the to the next course?

If the student has already earned a C- or better in the prerequisite course, he/she will not be prevented from moving on to the next Mathematics course, regardless of their ALEKS score. However, in the case that their ALEKS score is lower than required, we strongly recommend that the student take advantage of the ALEKS Learning Module to review and prepare for success in their next Mathematics course. 

  • What if a student becomes delayed in their program? 

Math placement could potentially delay a student in their program if they are not placed into their program’s required course.  This may discourage some students, but it’s worth mentioning that we’re not trying to keep them out of their preferred course, but rather trying to help them succeed in that course; which may require some additional reviewing of certain mathematical topics.  

If a student just needs refreshing, they will have the opportunity to use the Learning Module in ALEKS and retake the test.  If they need more than a refresher, they should take the course into which they placed. 

  • What if a student doesn't take the ALEKS Math Placement Test prior to their START session?

If a new first-year student does not complete the ALEKS math placement test by the morning of day 2 (of their START session), they will be directed to attend their day 2 college meeting/presentation and that college/advising unit will have the student take the test as it fits within their specific advising schedule. This may impact the timing of their advising appointment.

Transfer students should be sent to their college office to assess whether the ALEKS Math Placement Test is needed.

  • What if a student finishes the Learning Module, then retakes and passes the Placement Test, but all the sections in that course are now full? 

This could happen, as the Math courses required by numerous majors (MTH251: Calculus I, MTH111 College Algebra, etc.) tend to fill up quickly, especially during Fall term.  The Mathematics Department staff will do their best to ensure that there are an adequate number of sections available in the courses affected by placement.  As always, students can add themselves to the waiting list and register should a space becomes available.  

  • If a student is enrolled in a course, Banner will allow them to register for the subsequent course for the following term--how will we deal with students who do not pass the prerequisite course?

At the end of the term, the Registrar checks grades in prerequisite classes and automatically drops students who do not earn the required grade.

  • Can a student get an override, if they are very close to the cut score for a course?

Only the Department of Mathematics can override the placement test, and will rarely do so.  The student should use the Learning Module in ALEKS and retake the assessment to meet the cutoff score. 

  • What if a student has completed the prerequisite for a course? 

If a student has completed the prerequisite for a course, they can automatically enroll in the subsequent course without taking a placement test.  However, if this course was taken somewhere besides OSU, it may take a while before the transfer credits appear in Banner, and the student will be blocked from registration.  If a student is blocked, but has completed the prerequisite course, they should contact the Mathematics Advisors at mathplacement@math.oregonstate.edu.  Only the Department of Mathematics may perform a prerequisite override for a Mathematics course. 

If a student has completed the prerequisite for a course, but it was more than a year ago, please encourage the student to take the placement test, as mathematical knowledge can change drastically after a year.  Banner cannot enforce a time frame on a prerequisite, so the student will still be able to enroll in that course without the placement test, but completing the placement test will ensure adequate preparation for the course. 

  • What about math placement for non-degree seeking students?

All OSU students, degree seeking or non-degree seeking, have access to the ALEKS Math Placement Test and the ALEKS Learning Modules.  

  • What if a student has additional questions? 

The advising staff in the Department of Mathematics are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm in Kidder Hall 368, and can answer most placement questions.  Students may drop in, email (mathplacement@math.oregonstate.edu) or call 541-737-5170.