Frequently asked questions:
Are placement recommendations binding? No, but we strongly recommend that students follow the recommendations provided on the placement advice unless the student’s possible majors have changed since taking the test. Please discuss departures carefully with your advisees, and feel free to contact those named on the information for advisors page (follow the link from www.math.jmu.edu through academic programs).
What is the difference in background required for various courses? It is not easy to give a simple answer, but Mathematics 235 requires the strongest algebra background among the courses listed, followed by 205, 220, 231, 107, 155, and 103. Very good preparation in algebra, trigonometry, and geometry is far more important for success in MATH 235 than any previous experience with calculus, and similar statements could be made about several other courses.
Which courses "count" for General Education? Math 103, 107, 205, 220, 231, 235, and ISAT 151. Note that MATH 155/156 is a skills class for students not prepared for 205 or 220, and is not part of the General Education program.
What about students interested in education? It is expected that most students interested in early childhood, elementary, or middle school teaching will pursue the IDLS major. For IDLS, the beginning course will be 107, recommended in the first semester of freshman year. Students considering IDLS and another major may in some cases want to take a mathematics course required by the alternate major and postpone 107 until the spring. Students interested in secondary education should consult the major requirements in the appropriate discipline. Students not interested in the IDLS program and K-8 education should select 103 instead of 107.
What is the difference between Math 231 and 235 Mathematics 231-232 integrates the topics in Math 235 with review of algebra and functions. Students needing 235 who do not meet the appropriate placement levels should enroll in 231.
What about "multiple" recommendations? Most often multiple course recommendations on the placement form reflect multiple possible majors listed by the student. Choices may come down to the most likely; major at the time of registration. Other factors: for some majors, it is strongly recommended that students take a particular mathematics course in the first semester, while some courses can wait for a later semester. Some courses may apply to more of the possible majors than others. It is sometimes the case that the stronger listed courses (those associated with higher placement scores) are more flexible and apply to more major programs (especially 235 vs. 205). Refer to both the courses listed on the placement matrix and the timing of courses link on the information for advisors web page that you can reach from www.math.jmu.edu.
How may a student be placed in a higher-level course not on the list? Some students will come to JMU with AP mathematics credit, most often in calculus. A student with a 4 or 5 on the AB exam may enroll in 236/Calculus II. A student with a 4 or 5 on the BC exam may enroll in 237/Calculus III). If you do not yet have AP scores when you meet with advisees, ask advisees to make their best guess regarding their AP success. Try to enroll in a section for which switching to a different course will be convenient.
What about students who encounter
problems after the semester begins?
Please encourage students to talk to their instructors about problems and to be
aware of the Science and
Mathematics Learning Center in Wilson Hall. Catching up is a difficult
thing to do when students fall behind in a mathematics class, and regular
attendance is crucial. Mathematics classes usually have tests or
other forms of evaluation in the early weeks, and in some cases it is possible
for students to "drop back" to a different course if there is a
serious problem (i.e. from 205 to 155 or from 235 to 231). Resources
permitting, there will also be a second block MATH 205 class for students who
need to "start over" in mid-semester.