Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Math Placement FAQs

  1. How is placement determined? Freshman skills assessment and recommended placement for general education written communication and mathematics/quantitative reasoning courses shall be based on multiple measures of academic proficiency. Such measures may include high school English and mathematics/quantitative reasoning course grades, high school grade point averages, grades in collegiate courses, ACT scores, SAT scores, Advanced Placement scores, International Baccalaureate scores, SAT subject tests or Smarter Balanced Assessment/Early Assessment Program scores.
  2. Which math class do I take?
    Fulfilled Requirement: Has fulfilled the GE area A4 requirement.Consult your major academic plan and take additional math for your major if needed.
    Enroll in GE Course: Ready for placement in a GE area A4 course.Enroll in the appropriate GE math course for your major.
    Enroll in Supported GE Course: Placement in supported GE area A4 course and recommended Early Start.Follow the math course sequence (PDF) appropriate for your major.
    Early Start Required Enroll in Supported GE Course: Required placement in GE Science area B1 or B2 course (BIOL 102, PSSC 101, GEOS 130 or SCED 102) during the first term of enrollment.Follow the math course sequence (PDF) appropriate for your major.
  3. What if I disagree with my placement? Most frequently, the university places students into the wrong pathway because we have not received all of your documents. Your advisor will ask you whether Chico State has your final high school transcript, and, if applicable, your test results (SAT, ACT, AP, etc.), and/or your community college transcripts. If you have questions or concerns, email Admissions at
  4. Who takes Early Start and what is it? The Early Start Program was created to help better prepare new students in Quantitative Reasoning and English by having them begin in the summer before the fall semester. It helps us better assess overall academic preparation and improves students' likelihood of successfully completing a college degree. The Early Start Program serves CSU admitted freshmen who have not demonstrated proficiency in English and/or mathematics/quantitative reasoning as established by CSU.
  5. Do I have to take Early Start at Chico State? Chico State freshmen are encouraged to complete their Early Start Program activities at Chico State if at all possible. This will afford them an opportunity to get to know the campus, meet other students and the faculty, as well as provide them with the smoothest transition.  Students may also participate in Early Start at any other CSU campus.
  6. What if I can’t take Early Start? There is an appeal process and non-compliant students will receive notification of the process and deadlines from Academic Advising. Early Start Course Listing by Campus
  7. What if I don’t have a link to Early Start in my Student Center? Non-residents of California (including International students) and EOP students attending Summer Bridge are exempt.
  8. Am I required to take math my first semester? During the first academic year, unless the requirement has been completed, freshmen shall enroll in general education written communication and mathematics/quantitative reasoning courses appropriate to each students major and skill level, as demonstrated by applicable system wide standards.
  9. Do I have to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment? Students in STEM majors who are placed in GE math without support required should check for their eligibility to take the ALEKS Assessment for Calculus Readiness.
  10. How are International and Foreign-Educated Students placed in math? We use ALEKS Preparation, Placement and Learning to determine placement if students don’t SAT scores, ACT scores or transferable college credit for math.  Students should set up their ALEKS account as soon as they have activated their Wildcat Portal account.  A proctored assessment may be taken online and is available 24/7 in any time zone. Visit the webpage for detailed instructions.
  11. Why is my math course so heavy on group work? Chico State wants to help students move beyond memorization of formulas.  Solving problems in groups helps students develop the reasoning still that will benefit them not only in future math courses, but any courses that require systematic problem solving.  Employees with highly developed problem solving and collaborative skills are very valuable in the workforce.
  12. How to I sign up for tutoring? If you would like to earn an additional math unit, you may enroll in MATH 290 any semester in which you are also enrolled in another math course.  To get credit in MATH 290, students attend the Math Learning Lab and/or the Student Learning Center for help in math a minimum of once per week.  Many students find that enrolling in MATH 290 keeps them on top of homework in addition to having a tutor available to help when they run into difficulties.

Pamela Morrell

Graduate & Developmental Math Coordinator
HOLT 142