Level of Education of Students Involved


Faculty Sponsor

Tiffany Kolba


Arts and Sciences



Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-27-2023


All incoming students at Valparaiso University participate in a math placement process, which begins with a questionnaire that asks students to self-report their high school GPA, ACT/SAT scores, and previous math classes taken. Based upon the questionnaire, students are assigned a math pre-placement score of 0, 1, 2, or 3, with 0 corresponding to placement into MATH 110: Intermediate Algebra and 3 corresponding to placement into MATH 131: Calculus I. However, since the questionnaire is based upon self-reported data, the data is sometimes inaccurate, which may place students into math courses for which they are not prepared to succeed. Using actual admissions data for the Fall 2022 freshmen cohort, I analyze the accuracy of the self-reported data and the math pre-placement scores. This research serves as the basis for a new process of calculating math pre-placement scores directly from admissions data. This new process is not only beneficial for ensuring students are placed into the appropriate math courses, but also for simplifying the process and increasing retention.

Although all students receive a math pre-placement score, students also have the opportunity to take a math placement assessment through the ALEKS software in order to try to raise their placement level. I investigate the correspondence between the pre-placement scores and the ALEKS assessment scores in order to determine if the cut-off values should be re-calibrated. I also analyze what percentage of students are able to complete math review modules through the ALEKS software and successfully raise their placement level. Furthermore, I calculate the average time that successful students spend in the ALEKS software system so that the University can more effectively advertise this opportunity to incoming students.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

My name is Anton Eschenauer and I'm a graduating Statistics Major, Mathematics Minor. The idea/selection of the topic came from the math department as an opportunity to ensure incoming freshman are placed in the appropriate math grade level coming out of high school. I currently am pursuing full time employment, but using that, hope to build equity in order to continue my degree post-undergraduate.