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MAP Formatting

WeBWorK: USC’s Online Software Platform for Math Placement Testing

Learn more about the format of the Math Assessment for Prerequisites (MAP) and WeBWorK, the online platform used for this assessment.

Frequently Asked Questions

WeBWork is the online software used by the University of South Carolina (USC) to administer the Math Assessment for Prerequisites (MAP), which is the University’s math placement test for incoming students.

WeBWorK delivers individualized problems to each student taking the MAP.  Before a student submits their work for grading, Webwork allows the student to preview the answers they entered.  Once a student submits their answers, WeBWorK immediately grades their exam, provides a score, and displays correct solutions to all problems.   

WeBWorK is supported by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), has been in use for decades, and is now used by over 1300 colleges and universities worldwide. WeBWorK has been widely researched, confirming its reliability and strength as a tool for mathematical assessment.

The MAP consists of three levels, each with ten ``open answer” questions.  We have prepared a brief video that gives you a preview of the MAP format, as well as a Tutorial and Pratice Test in Blackboard. We strongly recommend that you view these, and you can do so at any time.

The ``open answer” test format is very good at determining whether or not students truly understand the topic being tested.  Scores on ``open answer” tests are likely to accurately reflect a student’s current level of knowledge, and therefore likely to assist us in placing incoming students in classes which most closely match their level of preparedness. Proper placement sets students on a trajectory to complete their degree in a timely manner; it greatly reduces failure rates and the need for students to retake courses.  In this way, the MAP is designed to help students reach their potential and be as successful as they can be in their foundational math courses. 

The ``open answer” format serves other purposes as well.  It matches the format for homework and tests that students will complete in their coursework at USC.  Also, individualized ``open answer” problems promote student academic integrity during the assessment.

Students’ MAP attempts are officially recorded in my.sc.edu. Your last total score in Blackboard is what is being uploaded daily.  At times, you may see multiple records if you took different levels on different days or if the system uploaded records more than once.  If you have questions about what you see in your record in particular, the Math Placement office has records of all your MAP attempts.  If you have any questions about your MAP records or status, or would like to retake the MAP, please contact us at assess@math.sc.edu.  We can verify the number of attempts that you have made and how many attempts remain, and we can advise you on how to proceed.  You can then fill out the Retake form to complete your request to retake the exam.


Tips for Achieving Success on the MAP

  1. As mentioned above, we very strongly recommend that students complete the tutorial and watch the video found in Step 2 of their Blackboard MAP section.
  2. We realize that the format for the exam may be new to students.  Therefore, we very strongly recommend that students attempt the practice exams we have made available.  We have observed that students who do the practice exams achieve better results on the actual exam.
  3. You have up to three opportunities to take the exam. We highly recommend that you take advantage of these multiple attempts.

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