Math Placement Testing at NJIT: The New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), a renowned STEM polytechnic university located in Newark, New Jersey, USA, administers mathematics placement tests to over 1000 incoming first-year and transfer students each year, and it was determined that a more secure and efficient solution for placement testing was required.
“The University was seeking a more efficient and robust method of testing and quest for an online tool to replace the pen-and-paper test. They wanted something more secure that didn’t involve recycled content. The fact that MAA also created the test helped to reinforce the choice of the Möbius MAA Placement Test Suite.” Margo Gilchrist, Associate Director of Placement & Testing at NJIT
NJIT’s placement test comprises three sections: Basic Algebra, Advanced Algebra, and Trigonometry (a subset of the full offering of the MAA’s test topics), and the math course placements vary depending on the student’s major. To prepare for the test, students can access an online practice test with sample questions and use a placement calculator to determine which mathematics course they will be placed in based on their scores.
Departmental Feedback: NJIT instructors strongly believe that enrolling students in mathematics courses that appropriately align with their baseline mathematics knowledge is critical to student success. They agree that the Möbius MAA Placement Test Suite is ideal for this task.
“NJIT has been using the Möbius MAA Placement Test Suite since 2008. We reassess the placement tests each year. We ask what we can do differently. Is this still helping us keep test administration efficient? Is it working in terms of student outcomes in their course and with their grades? We always agree that we need to keep using this tool.” Margo Gilchrist, Associate Director of Placement & Testing at NJIT
Suppose a student is having difficulty with the mathematics content being taught, faculty can investigate the student’s historical performance on the mathematics placement testing and re-evaluate their skill set if appropriate.
In addition to the built-in benefits of the Möbius platform when it comes to online mathematics and STEM assessment delivery, NJIT faculty enjoy three main rewards of the Möbius MAA Placement Test Suite:
- Reduced Test Administration and Logistics
- Secure Testing Technology
- Improved Student Outcomes
Reduced Test Administration and Logistics
Organizing and scheduling in-person placement tests proved to be an arduous and time-consuming task. It involved reserving rooms, sometimes up to six months in advance, setting up chairs and desks, and later dismantling everything after the test. However, with the tests now being conducted online, these cumbersome and time-consuming aspects are eliminated as students can take the test remotely.
“It was a lot of paper. You’re bringing the pencils and the pens; you have to provide all that scratch paper as students cannot bring their supplies. At the end of the test, we collected it all so they couldn’t leave with their scratch paper, as these could potentially contain the questions and answers for the test.” Margo Gilchrist, Associate Director of Placement & Testing at NJIT
Scantron historically graded the pen-and-pencil tests, and results had to be entered manually into the LMS (Learning Management System) gradebook. With Möbius, results are instantly available because of LMS grade syncing and automatic grading, which requires no manual intervention, eliminating human error, preserving valuable faculty time, and providing students with timely feedback.
The Möbius MAA Placement Test Suite additionally enables complete edit ability of MAA placement tests, allowing institutions to tailor each test and perform detailed analyses of student performance. No need to reprint new test versions when changes are made or manually compile grading data.
Secure Testing Technology
Placement testing is conducted virtually at NJIT, so guaranteeing the validity of the test results is a vital concern. To ensure test validity, NJIT implemented the lockdown browser feature of the Möbius MAA Placement Test Suite for a secure yet non-invasive test environment and found that most results matched traditional in-person, paper-based, proctored tests.
NJIT also uses algorithmic questions for its testing rather than static question banks. Algorithmic questions contain one or more variables with random values to automatically present students with different question versions, making it easier to maintain academic integrity.
Improved Student Outcomes
NJIT has observed positive student outcomes in enrollment, retention, and graduation rates.
“Proper placement of the students is also critical to their retention, persistence and graduation. The retention and sic-year graduation rates are 89% and 74% respectively. I think that placement plays a major part in this as the student can progress through the curriculum with the necessary tools.” Margo Gilchrist, Associate Director of Placement & Testing at NJIT
Gilchrist feels that with enrollment increasing at NJIT alongside the variations in the mathematical skill levels of incoming students, the streamlined placement testing process provided by the Möbius MAA Placement Test Suite is even more critical to ensure that students are offered the best chances to succeed in their chosen STEM field.
Learn More About the Möbius MAA Placement Test Suite
To develop an MAA placement test, it is first administered to students at select institutions to take the placement test before it officially becomes an MAA standard. The results undergo detailed analysis, with modifications and further trials as required. Hence, MAA placement tests have high credibility as they have been constructed by expert mathematics faculty members and piloted at various institutions over the last three decades.
The MAA then hand-selected the reputable and powerful Möbius platform by DigitalEd as the premier tool for delivering MAA placement tests which come together as the Möbius MAA Placement Test Suite.
For more information on the Möbius MAA Placement Test Suite, read the eBook: Partnering with the MAA to Assess Mathematics with Precision.