Mathematics Placement Test (MPT)
The Academic Placement Testing Program (APTP) is a cooperative program of Washington State public colleges and universities. Faculty from participating institutions have created the Mathematics Placement Test (MPT) to help students, with the assistance of their academic advisers, select first-year mathematics courses for which they are best prepared. The program is managed by the Office of Educational Assessment on behalf of participating institutions.
Math Placement Tests
Three test types enable accurate placement of students with varying levels of academic preparation. Specific placement cutoffs reflect the content and difficulty level of each course. Students should choose among the tests based on the course in which they wish to enroll, their level of academic preparation, and the requirements of their institution.
- The General Math Placement Test (MPT-G) is directed toward students who have less than three or four years of high school math and who will be entering pre-calculus or general college-level math classes. Test content is aligned with the Washington State College Readiness Mathematics Standards, and a single college readiness cutoff is accepted at all Washington public post-secondary institutions.
- The Intermediate Math Placement Test (MPT-I) is of the same level of difficulty at the MPT-G. It is directed toward students who have less than three or four years of high school math and who will be entering pre-calculus or general college-level math classes. The test covers Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, and Pre-Calculus I.
- The Advanced Math Placement Test (MPT-A) is directed toward students who have taken at least three or four years of high school math and who wish to enroll in Calculus. It covers Intermediate Algebra and Pre-Calculus I and II.
Sample problems have been developed to assist students in preparing for the test.
Beginning October 1, 2010, Math Placement Test (MPT) scores will be reported as scale scores rather than raw scores. Raw scores are simply the total number of questions answered correctly, whereas scale scores are created by "standardizing" the distribution of raw scores for each test so that it has a particular mean and standard deviation. The scale used for MPT tests runs from approximately 120 to 180, and has a mean of 150 (standard deviation=6).
Scale scores correct for minor differences in test difficulty and variability as new test versions are developed, allowing colleges and universities to use the same placement and college readiness cut scores for different versions of the same test. Without scale scores, variations in test difficulty would require institutions to set different cut scores each time a test version is introduced. Scaled scores also enable direct comparison of test scores across versions. For example, a scale score of 155 on the MPT-G, version 10 will reflect the same level of performance as a scale score of 155 on the MPT-G, version 9. The statewide college readiness cut score on the General Math Placement Test (MPT-G) has been set to 150, regardless of version.