Competency & Placement
Communication, mathematics, and information literacy are important components of our general education program, the Cardinal Core Curriculum. Guided self-placement, high school average, and competency exams help students select the right courses for their ability and academic goals. In many cases, placement or competency exams are not required.
- English College Writing Course Placement
Students must complete ENG101 College Writing II or an equivalent transfer course as a requirement of graduation. It is recommended that students meet this requirement the first year of college. Some students may benefit from taking ENG100 College Writing I first. Students should select the initial course based on the following:
Placement By High School Average
- ENG 100 College Writing I (3–4 cr) — Students with a high school average of less than 85% may register for this course. ENG 101 College Writing II is also required for this two course pathway.
- ENG 101 College Writing II (3 cr) — Students with a high school average of 85% or higher may register for this course.
Placement By Questionnaire
- Students may complete a self-directed determination of writing competency to guide course selection, especially if high school average may not reflect writing ability. Using this placement option gives students the freedom to choose the composition coursework best suited to their needs and interests, regardless of high school average.
Students who choose placement by questionnaire must complete all parts of the activity. This includes a declaration of the level of college writing they feel fits them as the “last step.” Students will not receive feedback on the selection unless they request it. Course selection should be based on the activity outcomes.
To take the English placement questionnaire, sign in to Brightspace, click on the “Discover” tab in the page banner and then click on “Directed Self-Placement at SUNY Plattsburgh.” At this point, you’ll be prompted to self-enroll — click on the “Enroll in Course” button. Then you’ll be able to take the questionnaire.
If the directed self-placement site is not visible to you on the “Discover” tab, return to your Plattsburgh Brightspace home page and find the “My Account” block (below your list of course sites). There, you may find a set of links related to Plattsburgh's orientation courses and proficiency tests, including the option to “Sign up for the English Directed Self-Placement Test.” After clicking on that link, you will be enrolled in the directed self-placement site within an hour. If neither of these self-enrollment options permit you to enroll, please contact Dr. Tom Friedrich at [email protected].
Students can consult with English composition faculty regarding this activity at summer orientation sessions or by contacting the first-year composition program’s director, Dr. Tom Friedrich, at [email protected]. Adjustment of students’ course selection is also possible during the first week of the semester.
- Mathematics Competency
Students must demonstrate foundational mathematics competency prior to taking quantitative reasoning courses in the Cardinal Core Curriculum and prior to enrolling in a math course other than MAT101, MAT106 or MAT108. Mathematics competency can be demonstrated by meeting one of the following:
- SAT mathematics score of at least 530
- ACT mathematics score of at least 21
- High school average of 85% or higher
- Transfer credit for any mathematics course also offered by SUNY Plattsburgh
Students with a high school average less than 85% must demonstrate foundational mathematics competency. Math courses should be selected based in educational goals per the Math Pathways Guide. Mathematics competency can be accomplished by meeting one of the following:
- MAT101 Elementary College Mathematics (3 cr.) with a grade of D or better
- MAT106 Quantitative Pathways I (3 cr.) and MAT107 Quantitative Pathways II (3 cr.)
- MAT108 Statistical Pathways I (3 cr.) and MAT109 Statistical Pathways II (3 cr.)
- Mathematics Competency Exam passing score. The Mathematics Competency Exam may be taken by any student who has not previously taken or currently enrolled in MAT101, MAT106, or MAT108. Log into the MYPLATTSBURGH Portal with your Plattsburgh student ID and password, then click the button below:
- Calculus Readiness
Students who are required to take calculus (either MAT221 or 224), or a calculus-based course (CSC217 or CSC221) for their major, must show competency with precalculus concepts prior to taking the course. This can be accomplished by meeting one of the following:
- MAT102 Precalculus This course should be taken by any students who have never taken precalculus in high school.
- Transfer credit for a course equivalent to MAT102 Precalculus
- Calculus Readiness Test passing score
The Calculus Readiness Test is designed for students who have taken a precalculus course in high school. Students who have not taken precalculus should take MAT102 Precalculus instead of taking this test. The test may only be taken once and should not be taken by any student who has previously enrolled in or is currently enrolled in MAT102. If you do not pass the Calculus Readiness Test, you must take MAT102 in order to show readiness.
To take the calculus readiness test you should sign in at https://brightspace.plattsburgh.edu, click on the “Discover” tab in the page banner and then click on “Calculus Readiness Test.” At this point, you’ll be prompted to self-enroll — click on the “Enroll in Course” button. Then you’ll be able to take the test. NOTE: If you cannot see the link for the “Calculus Readiness Test,” after clicking the “Discover" tab, please send an email to [email protected]
- Modern Language Course Placement
Successful completion of language courses requires accurate placement based on language proficiency. Students who wish to take a language course in French or Spanish or pursue a major or minor in language will be placed into course levels as follows:
- Students who have completed up to two years of a modern language in high school may take language courses at the 111-level.
- Students who have completed three consecutive years of a modern language in high school or achieved 85 or better on the Regents Exam should take language courses at the second semester, 112-level.
- Students who have completed four consecutive years of a modern language in high school and achieved 85 or better on the Regents Exam should enroll in courses at the 213- or 251-level.
- Students with confirmed transfer credit will be placed in the next appropriate college-level course.
- Modern language courses at the 111-, 112-, 213- and 214-levels will be applied to the Human Communities category of the Cardinal Core Curriculum.
Placement by Exam for French
Students who wish to be placed above the level indicated by their high school record or college record, or who are fluent speakers of French, should take intermediate college level language courses (200-level and above) as determined by performance on the WebCAPE Placement Exam. Students do not receive credit for this placement exam.
WebCAPE French Placement Exam Instruction
After completing a personal interview in the target language with a faculty member:
- Access WebCAPE and create an account
- Enter your name, campus email (your plattsburgh.edu email address) and Plattsburgh Banner I.D. number. (This is a 9-digit number that you should have received from the Registrar’s Office.)
- Choose a password for this account. Tips for creating secure passwords.
- Click “Create Account” to access the exam.
- The first screen is a practice item. After that, you will begin the exam.
- Your placement score will be displayed at the end of the exam. Be sure to click on “Finished” to send a copy of this information to Plattsburgh.
- If you receive an error indicating “too many connections,” please refresh the page and continue working. If necessary, you can log into the exam again and follow the directions near the button labeled ‘Resume’ on the identity/survey page.
- Please note: There is a 24-hour delay for this score to show up in the SUNY Plattsburgh system. Therefore, we recommend taking the exam at least a few days prior to orientation. Your results will appear on your Degree Works record for advisement purposes.
Placement by Exam for Spanish
Students who wish to be placed above the level indicated by their high school record or college record, or who are fluent speakers of the language being pursued, must take a placement exam. The Placement Exam for Spanish is done in person through an exam which has reading, writing and listening components. A personal interview in the target language between the student and one faculty member will follow. To schedule the placement exam, contact Oscar Flores: [email protected] or Fernando Iturburu: [email protected].
Online Modern Language Placement Examination
For additional information, contact the Department of Modern Languages, 318 Champlain Valley Hall, or Dr. Marie Cusson, at [email protected].
- Information Literacy Competency
The Information Literacy Competency Exam is an alternative way to meet the LIB190 course requirement, which is a component of the Cardinal Core and a pre or co-requisite for the ENG101 course.
- By passing the exam, you meet the Information Literacy General Education/Cardinal Core requirement, but do not receive the credit hour.
- Students who have a grade of E or W for the LIB course can meet the requirement by passing the exam, but the exam does not remove or replace the letter grade.
- Students can take the exam more than once, but only once in any academic year (July – June).
The exam will be available online in Brightspace from Wed. Jan. 22 through Wed. Jan. 31, 2024.
It will also be offered again during advising from Mon. April 8 through Fri. April 26, 2024.
- Sign up to take the exam by going to the Exam Sign Up Form during the
listed exam availability dates. We will then enroll you in the Brightspace exam site (within 24 hours, not counting weekends) and you may take the exam. In Brightspace look for Information Literacy Competency Exam 2023–2024
- The exam is 47 questions and you have one hour to complete it (unless you are eligible for extended time. See more information below).
Extended Time Testing
If you are eligible for extended time, indicate that when you fill out the exam sign up form.
The Accessibility Resources Office (ARO) will confirm your eligibility and the amount of extra time you are eligible for. You will then receive a confirmation email that your exam time has been adjusted and you can then start the exam. (Note: expect your confirmation email within 24 hours, not counting the weekend).
Preparing for the Exam
You are prepared for the exam if you’ve done significant research in Feinberg Library or at other comparable university libraries. The exam covers basic knowledge and skills in academic research including: search tools and techniques, evaluating sources and ethical use of information including citations.
You can also prepare by reading the text, Information Literacy & Technology, by Carla J. List. The text is on reserve at the Feinberg Library’s second-floor service desk and the SUNY Adirondack Library or you may want to review The Information Literacy User’s Guide: An Open Online Textbook.
Questions? Contact Michelle Toth, [email protected]