**Optional Placement Testing**

Taking any optional placement test will not result in a negative impact your placement. In fact, some students will benefit from choosing to take an optional placement test. The information below will help you decide whether or not taking an optional placement test is right for you. If you still have questions after reading this information, please contact the placement testing office.

**Optional
Math Testing (Begins April 1st)**

If your math SAT is between 530 and 550 you are automatically designated as mathematics placement level 4. If your math SAT is between 560 and 580 you are automatically designated as mathematics placement level 5. But if you would like a more advanced placement level, you may register to take the Optional Math Placement Exam. Whether it is worthwhile to voluntarily test in math or not depends upon the math requirements of your major.

If you choose to **major
in a liberal arts** or other non-technical field, you can satisfy the
university’s mathematics competency requirement by achieving Math Placement
Level 5 or 6. This automatically happens if you have a math SAT score above
605.

If you choose to **major
in business or economics**, you will be encouraged to participate in
voluntary placement testing. This may allow you to begin in a higher-level math
course and avoid taking a prerequisite course. For example, business majors are
required to take applied calculus; students with placement level 4 must take
college algebra as a prerequisite course, but students with placement level 5
or 6 can go directly to applied calculus.

If you choose to **major
in mathematics, computer science, engineering, the sciences, or middle level
education**, you will be strongly encouraged to participate in voluntary
placement testing. This may allow you to begin in a higher-level math course
and avoid taking one or two prerequisite courses. For example, all of these
majors are required to take Calculus I; students with placement level 4 must
take college algebra and pre-calculus as prerequisite courses, but students
with placement level 5 can bypass college algebra, and students with placement
level 6 can go directly to Calculus I.

If you choose to **major
in teacher education**, then you should be aware that middle level
certification majors have very different mathematics requirements from PreK-4
majors. The former group is included (above) among students required to take
Calculus I and so voluntary testing is strongly encouraged, while the latter
group will find no benefit in achieving a higher mathematics placement level.

**Optional
Math Testing – How To Do It**

Once you have either completed the Accuplacer math test placing into Level 4, or your math SAT scores are between 530 and 580, determine whether or not it is beneficial for you to improve your math placement based on your major. If it is in your best interest to complete the optional online math placement test please continue reading.

The Mathematics
Department has designed a **self-paced test that can be taken, reviewed, and
retaken, AT HOME, any number of times in order to provide a fair assessment of
your mathematical abilities. **The Mathematics Department Placement Test is
good for providing review for students who have already taken lower level
coursework and who may just need a refresher. If you have questions about this
option, contact the Melissa Murphy, Director of Placement Testing at (mcmurphy@ship.edu)

**Optional
Reading Testing (Strongly Encouraged) **

**Developmental
Reading: How Students Are Placed**

Currently, we are not conducting a Reading Placement Test. Students are placed
into Developmental Reading & Study Skills (RDG: 050) based on their Verbal
SAT score. Scores below 425 will result in placement into the Developmental
Reading course.

**Developmental Reading
Placement: How This Impacts Students**

A developmental placement requires you to pass coursework designed to improve
your skills. Students must earn a grade of “C” or higher to satisfy the
developmental reading placement. See the **Options Based on Placement**
tab on our website and click, Reading
Options for information
regarding remediation options prior to beginning classes at Ship.

Students who do not complete their Developmental Reading course requirement
prior to beginning classes in the fall will have a schedule that is restricted
to 12 credits (including the Developmental Reading & Study Skills course).
The Developmental Reading & Study Skills (RDG 050) is a three-credit course
that does not count toward graduation.

**Optional Testing: The
Developmental Placement Challenge Test**

Students with Verbal SAT scores of 425 and below who wish to challenge their
placement have the option to take the Reading Placement Challenge Test, the
Nelson Denny Reading Test. Students can only take the Reading Placement
Challenge Test at Shippensburg University. Alternate testing sites are not
available for this test.

The Nelson Denny is a timed test (35 minutes) composed of two sub-tests, Vocabulary and Comprehension. The Vocabulary section consists of 80 items and has a time limit of 15 minutes. The Comprehension section contains reading passages and 38 questions to be completed in 20 minutes. Nelson-Denny’s purpose is to identify students who have difficulty in reading, to gauge levels of progress after remediation, and to predict future potential for academic success.

**IF YOU CHOOSE NOT TO
TAKE** the Nelson-Denny,
you will need to enroll in RDG 050 your first semester. This also means:

- Your first semester schedule will be restricted to, at most, 9 college level credits.
- You will essentially be a semester behind.
- Developmental courses DO NOT count toward the credits needed for graduation.