Calculus Readiness Assessment

The Calculus Readiness Assessment (CRA) is a dynamic, online assessment that evaluates students’ strengths in arithmetic, algebra, and other pre-calculus skills.

Determining Which Math Class to Take

At Wheaton College, we desire that every student will take/start in a mathematics class that is at a suitable level for their preparation.  Students should determine the mathematics (quantitative reasoning) requirements for their particular program but also be aware of their level of preparation.

Some mathematics courses do not have any stated requirements: MATH 106, Mathematics for the Benefit of Mission and Society; MATH 107, Finite Mathematics and Applications; MATH 125, Mathematics for Elementary and Middle Grade Education; MATH 131, Pre-calculus.

Some mathematics courses require pre-calculus competence or MATH 131, namely MATH 221, Applied Calculus and MATH 263 Introduction to Statistics, but the department does not specifically assess student preparation.

However, because of its critical nature, we do assess preparedness for students entering MATH 231, Calculus 1, the first course in the primary calculus sequence.

Determining Calculus Readiness; Preparing for the Assessment

Students who plan to enroll in MATH 231 (Calculus 1) must take Wheaton College’s Calculus Readiness Assessment.  

The assessment system is accessible for all students with a Wheaton student login through the Wheaton portal, under the Academic Resources tab.  Besides serving as the platform for a practice test and the proctored tests, the software comes with well-designed learning modules that help the student review algebra, trigonometry and other pre-calculus concepts.  The assessment has a $15 fee, charged to a credit card.

Students planning to take MATH 231 should:

  • register for the course as they would for any other course.
  • sign into the CRA system and take a practice test (after July 1st for a Fall offering of MATH 231 and after November 1st for a Spring offering) well before taking the first proctored test on campus. 
  • after taking the practice test, spend time with the learning modules to review pre-calculus concepts.

The first proctored test will be, for the Fall semester, on campus Tuesday morning the day before classes and, for the Spring semester, Monday evening, the first day of classes.  Students will be given 3 hours to complete the test but most finish in 60-90 minutes.  A score of 65 is required for students to stay enrolled in MATH 231.  Students registered for MATH 231 will be told prior to first proctor date, the room and time to which they should report to take the CRA.

A score of 65 is required for students to stay enrolled in Math 231.  Should the student need it, a second proctored attempt will be held within one week of the first proctored test.  If a student does not reach the 65 score after 2 attempts, they will be unenrolled.

Students with Previous Calculus Experience

Some students come to Wheaton College with prior calculus experience.  The college maintains the following policies concerning credit and pre-requisite satisfaction in regards to the AP test and the IB and our calculus sequence.

AP Calculus AB score of 3, or an AP Calculus BC score of 2 allows the student to start in MATH233, Calculus 1B, which is the second half of MATH  231, Calculus 1.

AP Calculus AB score of 4 or 5, or an AP Calculus BC score of 3, gives the student credit for MATH 231 and allows the student to begin in MATH 232, Calculus 2.

AP Calculus BC score of 4 or 5 gives the student credit for MATH231 and a total of 6 hours of MATH credit and allows the student to begin in MATH234, Calculus 2B, which is the second half of MATH 232, Calculus 2.  Furthermore, freshmen students beginning in MATH 234 in A quad of the fall semester are encouraged to take MATH 331, Vector Calculus, in the B quad of the same semester and thereby complete the calculus sequence.

IB (International Baccalaureat) Math HL score of 5 or higher gives the student credit for MATH231 and allows the student to begin in MATH 232, Calculus 2.  (The Standard Level SL does not give credit.)

In exceptional circumstances, the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science may administer a Calculus Validation Exam, which is comparable in difficulty and content to the MATH 231 final.  A student who earns a 70 or higher on the Calculus validation Test is considered to have met the pre-requisites for MATH232, Calculus 2, and may begin there.