Math Placement Exams

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by PotentialMidMom, May 9, 2017.

  1. PotentialMidMom

    PotentialMidMom New Member

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    My DD has started taking the numerous math placement exams - apparently you have to start with Algebra I - and they allow for multiple attempts. Does anyone know the expectations for these - are you supposed to use all of your attempts and try to max out your score or are they just looking for you to establish proficiency? I told her I suspected the latter and that getting a few wrong on Geometry probably didn't matter as much as how many she gets wrong on Calc 3 which presumably is more relevant to placement. I would appreciate any current Mids perspectives on this.
     
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  2. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    I don't think those are math placement exams per se. I think they call them assessment tests and are but one element of the course validation process. My daughter took them just to check the box off. When she arrived for Plebe Summer she took USNA's validation exams and I think they also considered her AP test scores when they determined she had validated Calculus I. Last year the initial assessment test was required and taking additional ones were optional - that may have changed.

    Don't sweat them - your appointment is not at risk as long as you complete them. If you plebe2B has taken them and is satisfied, I wouldn't spend cycles re-taking them even it if is an option.

    My impression - as much as anything - USNA is using them to establish a baseline for the class regarding proficiency. They have been experimenting with classes like Calc I, II, III - some were self taught, some combined classes together.
     
  3. PotentialMidMom

    PotentialMidMom New Member

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    DD has sent her AB and BC Calculus AP scores to USNA. So they have to send AP scores, do the 8 or 9 online tests and STILL take more placement exams during Plebe summer? I was hoping that these online tests would be in place of the Plebe summer ones since I assume they quickly become brain dead from lack of sleep, heat and general cognitive overload of the PS experience.
     
  4. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    Be sure to take every validation exam available during Plebe Summer. The rooms are air conditioned, you get to sit, and it provides and excellent opportunity to nap.

    All I know about the assessment tests taken on-line prior to Plebe Summer for the class of 2020 - part one was mandatory and the rest were optional last year. My daughter opted for the minimum and she went on to validate 8 classes including Calculus I, Statistcs, and Chem I. IMHO - the assessment tests are being used to develop a baseline for the class and not so much your Plebe2B directly.

    The program is 47 months regardless of what is or is not validated.

    And yes - when you see them on PPW - they are hot, tired, and general cognitive overload which is another reason that validating a bunch of courses up front isn't always a good thing, because starting Plebe year academics in 'advanced' classes can be a tough transition.
     
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  5. parent

    parent BGO 5-Year Member

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    USNA will have her take placment exams during PS to validate. IMHO if she is a direct report from HS validating alot of lcasses is not really a good thing. She could be in as Cerberi said for a "TOUGH" transition. Remember she will also have to learn alot about the Navy during her Plebe year!
     
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  6. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    There are different thoughts on this... validate or don't. Take the tests and see what happens. Just because you validate doesn't mean you have to move on to the next class. It isn't required. Yes, Plebe Year is hard. USNA has been in business a very long time and continues to refine its process as more and more data is available and numbers are crunched on what makes a successful Mid. A Mid can see where they land, work with the academic adviser and have that conversation on best path for their goals, aspirations and aptitude. They are young adults who will now be in charge of all their educational decisions, good and bad. USNA has tons of tools in place for Mids to succeed (more than a regular university) and to monitor those who are struggling (but no one is going to do the work for them). They will figure it out... we all did. In 4+ short years they could be making life and death decisions, this is part of the learning process.
    Note - I am not sure why USNA has all these exams. I am guessing its part metrics gathering and refresher for placement exams. Chem and Calc validation exams are normally given very early in Plebe Summer to ensure they haven't replaced all their knowledge with weapons fore to aft on a cruiser for all the Calc they learned in high school or college or Laws of the Navy. Detailers keep a distance during these exams for a reason. Its like when they go to the range to shoot, some places Detailers are told to keep a far distance to lessen stress and let Plebes clear their head (and Detailers need to break too). Its part of the learning curve to switch gears on a dime and compartmentalize during times of stress and chaos.
     
  7. mjm

    mjm 5-Year Member

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    My mid was happy he did not validate.... plebe year is full of other "tests" that are required !! The one thing I learned from my mid is that even mids who had perfect GPA's in high school and had high test scores struggled plebe year. Plebe year is a big transition.... (freshman year for civilian colleges is a big transition). Your plebe will most likely be sick quite a bit during plebe year ..... Im sure many parents can attest to that!! I would err on the side of caution when it comes to validating!
     
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  8. MAC_Daddy

    MAC_Daddy Rationalization is the enemy of excellence!

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    I find this topic interesting. Most "parents" of SA cadet/midshipmen tell me that our DS should underperform on the testing. Many "graduates" tell me that DS should validate what he can. Their attitude was that Plebe year sucks anyway, so taking the "suck" in year one opens opportunity down the road (double major, lighter or more diverse schedule). I like the idea NavyHoops alluded to that you don't "have to" move into different classes if you don't feel like it. From mjm's mid perspective, I'd be curious if the kids that score really well in high school but struggle in the SA were the kind of kids that spent all their time studying to get those grades in high school. Our DS went to a Calculus class of a 3/C on his recruiting trip last year. He was offered the pop quiz and aced it. He's one of those folks perfect score kids (with what seems like little effort) and as a swimmer, he's been conditioned to live with compressed time schedule. Still, I wonder if the SA will be a "wake up" call to a different level. I hear GPA rules over difficulty of subject matter (I.e. Physics I A trumps the Quantum Physics B). I guess it all comes down to the individual. He will meet with a 2/C midshipman today to discuss, but I suspect he'll do his best and not lay down.
     
  9. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 5-Year Member

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    So I ended up validating 9 classes going in as a plebe (I came directly from high school).

    I am still conflicted myself as to whether this was the right decision for me. I struggled somewhat plebe year because I hadn't had to deal with very much stress in my life and didn't really know how. My academics suffered, not because I didn't get the material, but because I was too caught up in other things. I was taking essentially all 2nd semester plebe or youngster year classes during my first semester. Sometimes I think if I had retaken calc and english and chemistry and government, then I wouldn't have done as bad because I would have had to put less effort than usual as I would have known much of the material already.

    After plebe year, my CQPR markedly improved as I figured out how the Academy works, and I could get back to focusing on school. I did significantly better with the more advanced material after plebe year, just as some of my classmates dropped significantly in performance after they left the structure and familiarity of plebe classes.

    Now as a rising firstie, I am experiencing the benefit of my validations. After first semester youngster year, I haven't and will not have more than 17 credits in a semester. I have so much room in my schedule that I actually started the Computer science syllabus in addition to my main major (OR). I could have easily gone abroad for a semester or had room for VGEP. If I were at a civilian school I probably could have front loaded and graduated a year early.

    My plebe year affects my OOM to this day, and that sucks because I could probably be a couple hundred spots higher than I am. But I have never had to overload and have had the ability to take pretty much any extra class that I want because of the free space in my schedule.
     
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  10. MAC_Daddy

    MAC_Daddy Rationalization is the enemy of excellence!

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    9 classes is a lot. I'll share this with our DS who is coming from HS. I suspect his will be Calculus and Chemistry only. Also, did you play a varsity sport that consumed extra time? I worry about Plebe year taking a toll on the GPA too.
     
  11. mjm

    mjm 5-Year Member

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    I think that every plebe is different, and your plebe to be seems ready for the challenge!

    And it was my mid that said he was glad that he did not validate ( not me)..... I don't get involved in those decisions as he is "off the payroll"
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
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  12. MAC_Daddy

    MAC_Daddy Rationalization is the enemy of excellence!

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    We shall see. And agree that it's really not for me to determine. He is meeting with a mid that we've known for years who is two years older, went to the same HS, and had almost exactly the same schedule and teachers as DS. An enlightened conversation to say the least.
     
  13. mjm

    mjm 5-Year Member

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    I will just say there are situations that your plebe will have to deal with that you would have never expected .......and these cause a different kid of stress. The mids come from all walks of life and all different geographic locations. My mid is a firstie now and I am on the second go round with my third child applying. The BGO we have said it perfectly when she said that it is good that my DD has the experience of her brother and will be entering into it with "eyes wide open" and will understand the good, bad and ugly of attending an SA. My DS has done well and enjoyed his time at USNA and is now on the tail end..... it has been a learning experience for the entire family.
     
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  14. mjm

    mjm 5-Year Member

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    Sent you a PM
     
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  15. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Super Moderator 5-Year Member

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    It is a mix of who will struggle and who will not. I saw some who worked hard for their high school grades struggle and others who never opened a book think they didn't have to as a Plebe. In all honesty it's learning how to study and the balance of Plebe duties for most.
     
  16. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 5-Year Member

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    I did not play a varsity sport. I was one of those kids that didn't have to work very hard in high school, so part of what made things difficult for me was having to "learn" how to do that, something I admit freely.

    You said that your son is a recruited swimmer? Those guys have it really hard because they're in the water so much and their season is in both semesters. I would say basketball is the only one more time consuming athe USNA. It's doable though, a plebe in my squad on the team managed a 3.8 this semester. He's just got to have really good time management skills.
     
  17. MAC_Daddy

    MAC_Daddy Rationalization is the enemy of excellence!

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    Thanks for the feedback and choosing to serve. One of the dad's suggested not validating. He's had two at USNA and one at USMA. He felt that easing in was better. I swam in college and was an ME major. All I did was train, eat, study and sometimes sleep. That was at a civilian school so there were added distractions but also no other obligations like you have at SA's. Whatever he chooses, I suppose he'll have to learn from it.
     
  18. Cerberi

    Cerberi Member

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    This is what the USNA website says about validating math courses:

    https://www.usna.edu/MathDept/academics/placement.php

    There is a reference made to a single on-line exam consisting of 70 questions. I assume that was the 'mandatory' piece of 2020's on-line math assessment. It is 70 multiple choice questions and a 'passing score' is 45 correct answers.

    There is no reference made to the additional tests referenced on the Math Department's website, which makes me think the additional exams/assessments the OP referenced are primarily for data collection and do not impact + or - the individual that takes the on-line assessments.
     
  19. PotentialMidMom

    PotentialMidMom New Member

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    Thanks for this link. As I read though the information, it appears that the placement tests I originally asked about when I started this thread ARE the ones that serve as at least an alternate way to place out of courses. My reading is if you "pass" the initial on-line 70 question test, you are "invited" to take the Calculus I test (which can apparently also be validated though the AP Calculus AB exam). You then can progress through other online tests. The sites says "Those who validate Calculus II and have had a course in Calculus III are invited to take a Calculus III validation exam. The Calculus III exam is part multiple choice (to be taken online) and part long answer (to be taken with pencil and paper). If your online score is high enough, you will be invited to take the long answer test after arriving at the USNA." Apparently the only math test you would actually take during PS then, is the Calculus III long answer test. My DD indicated that she had 8 or 9 of these assessment tests to take on her portal (or whatever it is called now) which may be because she is taking Calculus III now (not sure if all tests are listed for all students).

    Again - this is based on the way I read the Math Department's Validation and Placement section. Based on that, it sounds like students interested in placing out of some math classes, DO need to try their best on these placement tests and that they are not just information gathering. I'm sure all of the incoming class of 2021 doesn't know how to do anything but their best though!
     
  20. MAC_Daddy

    MAC_Daddy Rationalization is the enemy of excellence!

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    So DS had lunch with a friend who is a rising 2/C Mid. He is 2 years older and went to the same high school, they had the same classes/teachers and practically same grades. Because DS plans on taking the same/similar major, the mid is encouraging him to validate 100%. Says it is tough that Plebe year, but worth it in the long run.