Freshman Math Placement

The Georgetown College Mathematics faculty recognize that not all high school students have had the opportunity to understand completely the mathematics that they have taken in high school. It is our experience that college math is perceived by many students to be much more difficult than high school math for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Each student is responsible for his/her own learning; it is not the professor’s responsibility to make students learn.
  2. Students are required to do a lot of work outside of class; this work must be done individually by each student.
  3. The majority of a student’s grade is determined by his/her performance on exams (rather than homework and/or effort); homework is graded for correctness.
  4. We do not rely on calculators because we emphasize correct reasoning processes.

We earnestly desire that all Georgetown College students complete their Essential Proficiencies mathematics course on their first attempt with a grade of C or higher. To accomplish this goal we have developed a new course, GSS 105 Elements of Quantitative Reasoning, for students needing additional preparation in math.

Students with a math ACT of less than 19 (or its equivalent) must begin GSS105 (or pass a bypass exam or transfer an equivalent, previously approved course) no later than the third semester of full-time enrollment. These students must enroll in this course each subsequent semester until they have successfully completed the course with a grade of C or above, and are not eligible for their Essential Proficiencies mathematics course until they have successfully completed GSS105 or its equivalent. Drop slips must be approved by the Department Chair or the Mathematics Program Coordinator.

The topics in GSS105 include properties of numbers, scientific notation, factoring, exponents, simplifying polynomials and rational expressions, solutions of linear, quadratic, and rational equations, graphing lines and other standard functions, finding equations of lines, and word problems.

GSS Bypass Exam: The bypass exam is optional for students with a math ACT score less than 19.

Currently, the best practice for this exam is at The bypass exam differs from the practice test in the following ways:

  1. No calculator is allowed on the bypass exam;
  2. Only approximately half of the bypass exam is multiple choice. The other half requires that correct work be shown in solving the problems to earn full credit;
  3. Students have one hour to complete the test.

Thus, students should practice by working the problems on the practice test, showing their work in a logical fashion.

The passing score is 75% on each of the multiple choice and the show-your-work portions of the exam. If students get at least 60% on each portion they may retake the bypass exam one time with at least the rest of the summer or one semester elapsing before retaking.

The bypass exam is given at the beginning of each semester and during the summer registration workshops.

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