Georgia Journal of Science


The success or lack of success in the first college mathematics course that students attempt has a significant impact on students’ future academic progress. Lack of success in mathematics and English can (a) lead to a student changing his or her major, (b) delay the student’s progress toward graduation, and (c) decrease the likelihood that the student will be retained at the college the next year. Due to the importance of student success in the first college mathematics course, many colleges and universities have turned to mathematics placement systems to help ensure that students in STEM majors are likely to succeed in their first mathematics course. The results of these placement systems, however, are largely unknown. This study analyzed the results of a mathematics placement system using five years of data, which were obtained from 10,484 students enrolled in six mathematics courses. The placement system places students in level 1, 2, 3, and 4 courses based on nationally normed standardized tests in mathematics as well as high school GPAs. The success rates (grade A, B, or C) for students placed in levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 were 59.06%, 88.57%, 86.13%, and 88.28% respectively. In addition, the DFW (grade D, F, or W) rates for College Algebra and Calculus I are at or below the DFW rates from national data.