Undergraduate Catalog 2018-2019

Mathematics Testing

(See also Academic Policies/Testing)

Every student entering The City University of New York must take a mathematics proficiency and placement test. Prior to fall 2004 the test used was the five-part CUNY Mathematical Assessment Test (CMAT). Beginning in fall 2004, the test used is the COMPASS Exam. This new exam is a computer adaptive test, which consists of four parts: Part I - Numerical Skills/Pre-Algebra, Part II - Algebra, Part III College Algebra, and Part IV - Trigonometry. Mathematics proficiency can be demonstrated by appropriate scores on the COMPASS Exam, Parts I and II or an appropriate score on prior mathematics exams such as the math section of the SAT or the NYS Regents Mathematics exams. Students who have sufficient background in mathematics can be exempted from the proficiency part of the exam, but are still required to take the placement section of the COMPASS Exam beginning with Part II - Algebra, for placement into the appropriate level of mathematics courses.

Students who do not get the required score on Part I and Part II of the COMPASS Exam and are not exempt based upon the SAT and NYS Regents score are not considered to be math proficient.

These students are required to achieve proficiency within one year. This one year includes the pre- and post-freshmen Summer Immersion Program, the Winter Immersion Program, and the fall and spring remedial coursework. Students who do not achieve proficiency in mathematics within one year will be dismissed.

All non-proficient students who fail both Part I and Part II of the COMPASS exam must complete a pre-freshman math immersion course. Other non-proficient students may enroll in an Immersion Program the appropriate 0-level mathematics course (MTH 020).

Mathematics Placement

All incoming students must take the COMPASS Exam, a mathematics proficiency and placement test. Those who are exempt from the proficiency part of the exam are required to take the placement part of the exam beginning with Part II - the Algebra section, in order to be placed into an appropriate mathematics course that is consistent with their curriculum.

Placement in mathematics courses is governed by the following Mathematics Department policies:

  1. Incoming students who have failed to exhibit mathematics proficiency are eligible only for placement into either MTH 015 (6 hours.) for students who failed both parts of the proficiency exam or MTH 020 (4 hours.) for students who failed only one part of the proficiency exam and are not eligible to take any other mathematics courses until passing MTH 015 or MTH 020.

    Students who have mathematics proficiency but do not have a sufficiently high score on Part II (Algebra) of the COMPASS Exam need further work in elementary algebra are only eligible for placement into MTH 020.

    Students who have mathematics proficiency and in addition have sufficiently high scores on the appropriate parts of the (four-part) COMPASS Exam, or NYS Regents are eligible for placement into MTH 030 , MTH 102, MTH 108, MTH 109, MTH 113, MTH 121, MTH 123, MTH 130, MTH 217, MTH 221, MTH 223, MTH 230, or MTH 231, according to the current Mathematics Placement Score table published by the Department of Mathematics. These courses may have additional prerequisites or restrictions.

  2. Transfer students should bring documentation of previous coursework in mathematics to the Mathematics Department for evaluation and placement as soon as possible after admission to the College. If applicable, students should provide a copy of their high school transcripts with NYS Regents scores. Transfer students should bring catalog descriptions of their previous mathematics courses, along with copies of their transcripts with the original grades.
  3. Students who complete MTH 123 with a grade of A may go directly to Calculus I MTH 231. Students who complete MTH 123 with a grade of A or B may go directly to MTH 230. In either case, however, students who need additional background in trigonometry are advised to take MTH 130 before taking Calculus I.
  4. Initial placement into all mathematics courses, including MTH 015 or MTH 020, MTH 030, MTH 102, MTH 108, MTH 109, MTH 113, MTH 121, 123 MTH, 130 MTH, 217, MTH 221, MTH 223, MTH 230, or MTH 231 for students not covered by the policies above is determined by the recommendation of faculty advisors in the Department of Mathematics, based on documentation or demonstration of the student’s mathematics preparation.

Selecting Appropriate Mathematics Courses

The College offers several introductory mathematics courses and course sequences meeting a variety of student interests and needs.