Department of Mathematics and Philosophy

Mathematics Placement at WIU: An Overview

Note: Math Placement at WIU has undergone an extensive revision process in 2020-2021. This improved system for math placement is being implemented spring, 2021, for students beginning classes in the fall, 2021 semester.

Mathematics is an interdisciplinary language and tool. Mathematics is a critical discipline that serves as a foundation for many majors and programs. Mathematics enables students to successfully engage in the mathematical thinking encountered in academic studies and in daily living.

A Note About Placement

In order to be successful in mathematics, it is very important to determine what course level is appropriate for each student. It is our mission as Math Faculty and Staff to ensure all our students are prepared to receive the skills necessary to be successful in their coursework at WIU.

It is beneficial to be placed in the most appropriate math placement for their academic performance level, seeking the highest level for which they are well-prepared to successfully complete. The benefits to appropriate placement, even into higher levels, is that it can shorten the amount of time needed for degree completion, save money in taking fewer courses, and allow more space in student's schedules to prioritize their study time appropriately.

Placement Process Overview

Entering students' mathematics skills and previous math coursework are assessed prior to initial registration. For incoming freshmen, the primary tool for math placement is the Information for Math Placement Form. Students will receive the link to fill out the online Information for Math Placement Form from their adviser. For transfer students, the primary tool is their transcript. The student is placed into a category of math courses. Based on the student's major and course of study, in consultation with their adviser, the student may register for any course in the category.

PRIOR TO placement, students should prepare by reviewing the following:

Watch pre-placement informational videos (HIGHLY SUGGESTED) YouTube button

Beginning Level Math Courses

All new students at WIU may choose to take Math 110* or Math 100, depending on their chosen major. 

  • For majors REQUIRING Math 128 OR Math 113,  students should register for Math 110*,  OR

  • For majors NOT REQUIRING Math 128 OR Math 113, students should register for Math 100.

A student's math placement may be higher than Math 110 or Math 100, based on their math background.

*For fall 2021, beginning math courses are changing. Math 110 is a new course, which replaces Math 099. Students placed in Math 099, should take Math 110. Additional information on course changes can be found here.

Placing Beyond Beginning Level Math Courses

Students with sufficient previous mathematics coursework may be placed in math courses higher than the beginning level courses. As part of the registration process, students fill out the Information for Math Placement Form. Then, based upon that information, the student's math placement will be determined using the:

  1. Review of high school coursework: The student who took dual credit, PreCalculus, Transitional Math, or AP courses may have their math placement increased (additional detailsOR  

  2. SAT/ACT test score plus high school coursework:  The student who has a Math SAT score of at least 530 (or 21 ACT), will have their math placement increased, based on the SAT/ACT score and the HS coursework. (additional details)

ALEKS Placement Test (Optional)

Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) Placement Test:  Students may request approval to take the ALEKS placement test if they have EITHER:

    • successfully completed Algebra II (intermediate algebra) with a grade of B or higher (both semesters) OR

    • successfully completed four years of high school math with a grade of C or higher in the senior year (both semesters).

The results of the ALEKS placement test may increase the student's math placement higher than the beginning level courses.  NOTE: The ALEKS Placement Test MUST be taken (and the math placement set) before the student begins their coursework. (additional details)

Sharable Flier

Click here for a sharable flier (2-page PDF) on getting started using these screens to learn about Math Placement at WIU.