Gateway Tests

Page updated on October 28.

ASU's mathematics department has adopted the policy that All students in first year courses and in calculus level courses have to pass uniform gateway tests.

In the case of MAT 270 a readiness test checks elementary algebra and trig skills. It must be taken before the drop/add deadline Monday Sept.14 1998 in the testing center of the mathematics department.
Students scoring 10 or lower are advised to drop back to the prerequisite courses (e.g. precalculus). In the case of the Foundation Coalition course such students may stay in the class only if they agree to supervised remedial work.

The second test is a gateway test for basic-skills, typically given early in the second half of the semester. In the case of MAT 270 this test checks mastery of elementary skills of symbolic differentiation. Usually mastery constitutes 90% correct answers (no partial credit).

This semester we will be piloting an automated form of this test, using software developed and extensively class-tested at the University of Nebraska. The level of difficulty is chosen to conform to departmental guidelinesi, and is very similar to the review problems for chapter 4 in the textbook.

Added benefits of this on-line test are that students can take unlimited practice-tests with virtually instant feedback before committing to the real test. Moreover, the software makes all discussions about minor syntactical mistakes obsolete -- there is no subjectivity, if the math syntax is correct the software understands it -- if parentheses are missing the math is wrong. Period.

Students should go as soon as possible to the Home-page for the WWW-tests. (Only use this link -- do not go the homepages for other sections, e.g. by following links provided by friends....). Read the instructions and register your name, choose a password. Then work practice-tests until you feel ready for the real test.
The real test has to be taken in a proctored environment. No notes or other aides are allowed -- only pencil and paper, no calculator. As this semester we only have very few sections piloting this test, we need to make special arrangements for taking these tests -- it is envisioned that very soon you simply take such tests anytime in the testing center....
At this time we have scheduled the following times:

All students are expected to make a first attempt (and hopefully pass right away) during this first week.

Students not passing in the first attempt, may try again in the following week -- times will be arranged according to the demand -- but be aware that in the following week the gateway test second attempt will collide with regularly scheduled tests in both calculus and physics.

Problems:. The test contains 10 problems. These are selected from the following list -- note that they may contain derivatives of inverse trig functions, and of the lesser used functions sec, csc, and cot. Note: On Tuesday Oct 27 the test was reconfigured to make it substantially easier - testing basic skills, but avoiding overly long and complicated questions.

Grading policies. Since this is only the second class to try the test at ASU we shall be somewhat flexible and accommodating: Instead of 90% cutoff, for this gateway test only, we will call 80% a passing score (e.g. allowing for one type-oh when using the new syntax).
The plan is to allow a maximum of three attempts. To facilitate grading, passing on any one of the at most three attempts will be worth the same 50 points. Failing three proctored tests will count as 0 points. However, since this is new, we may allow for additional attempts if unforeseen hardships make a good case for it.

Please send e-mail reporting any difficulties, or incorrect answers. Matt Kawski will forward these straight to the author at UNL. In some cases it might be best to print out the on-screen messages or the graded tests.