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Placement Guide

New students at Augustana College are required to take several placement tests before they attend a Summer Connection or Transfer Connection event. Students and their parents may wonder why the placement tests are necessary. How does a student benefit from the tests?

Placement tests show a student's current knowledge base and skill set in a particular subject. We use that information to determine what course level is appropriate for the student. When students are placed into courses based on their current knowledge and skills, they enjoy a greater rate of success. Placement testing is one important way of helping students reach their academic goals.

At Augustana, incoming students:

  • take at least one foreign language placement test
  • take a chemistry placement test
  • receive a letter regarding their mathematics placement


Foreign Language Placement

Augustana requires each student to demonstrate competency in a foreign language in one of the following ways:

  1. completion of four years of a single foreign language in high school (through a full year of level IV, beginning in middle school or high school)
  2. successful completion of the 103 or 201 course in any language at Augustana
  3. satisfactory performance on a placement exam; students with fewer than eight semesters of language who place beyond 103 will be required to retake the exam on campus during Fall Connection
  4. equivalent (one year) at another college or university; the college does not accept online coursework to fulfill the language requirement
  5. International students, whose first language is not English, may opt instead to complete this requirement by a placement test score at the 201 level or higher, or by taking one course from: ENGL 208, ENGL 231, ENGL 309 or ENGL 310.  Successful completion of a placement exam in a language not offered at Augustana requires a minimum score of 70 percent to meet this requirement and the student is responsible for all fees necessary to administer the exam.

All incoming students are required to take a foreign language placement test. Four tests are available: French, Spanish, German or Latin. If you have experience in a different language or have not studied a language, please contact Mary Windeknecht at marywindeknecht@augustana.edu or at 309-794-8290.

If you completed four years of a language (beginning in middle or high school), we still require the placement test. Here's why. When you come to your Connection event, you'll hear about all of the languages we offer including German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Chinese, Japanese, Latin and Greek. You'll also hear about the value of studying foreign language at the college level to your future career and life goals. Many students decide to continue in the language they've studied, or even study a new one. In any case, the placement test gives us a better idea of the level of coursework that's best for you.

If you've completed AP (Advanced Placement) testing for any language, please let your advisor know at your Connection event.

Chemistry Placement

Many fields of study require chemistry, including Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, and Pre-professional programs like Pre-Med, Pre-Dentistry and Pre-Nursing (not a complete list). All students are required to take the chemistry placement test, even if they don't plan to study one of these areas. By taking the test, you assure we have a placement score in the event you decide to pursue one of these fields. Keep in mind that the test has no bearing on your academic record. No matter what your score, if you don't decide to study one of the above fields, the test has no effect on you or your courses at Augustana.

If you plan to study a field that requires chemistry, your score tells us where you should begin the sequence of chemistry courses. Most students will begin with CHEM 121 General Chemistry their first term, but a few will be ready for CHEM 122 General Chemistry II. The placement test also tells us how prepared you are for the math you'll use in chemistry. We may require you to take a one-credit discussion section (CHEM 120) to accompany your chemistry course. The discussion section will reinforce the math skills that can help you succeed in chemistry.

Math Placement

We do not require a math placement test. Instead, we use your Math Index Score, based on your high school GPA and your ACT/SAT math score. Incoming first-year and transfer students will receive a letter from the Director of First-Year Advising with their score and course placement prior to their Connection date. Students who do not have a high school GPA on file at Augustana or have not taken the ACT or SAT will demonstrate their math proficiency through a skills assessment. For more information, please click here.

For students who will take mathematics at Augustana, the letter will identify their first math course on campus. Some students will place into Calculus; others will be required to take a preparatory course(s) before they take Calculus. To see the placement ranges and find out how AP testing might affect your placement, please click here.

If you are not satisfied with your math placement, you have the option of enrolling in an ALEKS online math course to improve your placement. For more information about this option, please click here.

If you are satisfied with your placement, but would like the opportunity to refresh your skills before taking your first math course at Augie, you have the option of enrolling in an ALEKS prep course. For more information about this option, please click here.

You'll learn more about your math placement at your Summer Connection event.

Placement in Academic Support Courses

We recommend that some students be placed into courses that provide more individualized instruction to improve reading and writing skills. These courses include ENGL 111 Introduction to College Discourse (one credit) and small sections of LSFY 101 Liberal Studies First Year (four credits).

If we recommend one of these courses for you, you'll receive a letter from the Director of First-Year Advising before you attend a Connection event. Our recommendation is based on years of data that show students who take these courses have a greater likelihood of academic success. If we believe you will benefit from these courses, you will be pre-enrolled in one or both before you attend a Connection event. If you have questions when you receive the letter or at Connection, please talk with Mary Windeknecht, the Director of First-Year Advising at 309-794-8290 or marywindeknecht@augustana.edu.