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Academic Foundations

What is the Academic Foundations Program?

We prepare students for college-level work by offering courses that support your mastery of the quantitative and critical thinking skills necessary for success in UNM classes. Our courses are designated by “UNIV 102.”

Why should I take Academic Foundations Courses?

  • Your scores on the ACT Math and Reading exam or SAT Critical Reading and Math exam determine your placement into Academic Foundations courses.  It is important for your success to complete the necessary Academic Foundations courses during their first term at UNM.
  • You will be placed in UNIV 102 Quantitative Reasoning if: Your ACT Math score is 17 or below, or your SAT Math score is 429 or below. 
  • You will be placed in UNIV 102 Critical Text Analysis 100 if: Your ACT Reading score is 17 or below, or your SAT Critical Reading score is 429 or below.

What do I do if I feel my test scores did not place me correctly?

Students who feel that their ACT or SAT scores may not be accurate may contact the UNM Testing Center to take the appropriate placement test BEFORE your orientation session.

What are the Placement tests, and where can I take it?

COMPASS is a computerized, multiple-choice exam, similar to an ACT or SAT, but without a time limit. In general, each test can be completed within an hour. Students may take the test on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday, at the UNM Testing Center located in the Continuing Education Building, room 226. Testing is available beginning at 8:00 a.m. and must be completed before 4:00 p.m. There is a $3.00 fee for taking each test. Results of a test are available immediately upon completion of the exam. You may re-take the COMPASS exam up to three times, allowing for a two week interval between attempts. Your highest score is the one used for final placement. Visit test.unm.edu about taking COMPASS.

What COMPASS scores do I need?

Students who pass the COMPASS with a Math score of 51, and a Reading score of 78 are not required to take the corresponding Academic Foundation class.

Are there other ways to be exempted from Academic Foundations courses?

There are no exemptions from the Academic Foundations courses based on any other tests, personal interview, or previous academic work. Students must either test out by ACT, SAT, or COMPASS or they must take the relevant Academic Foundations course, without exception.

Will I get credit for my Academic Foundations courses?

Each Academic Foundations class counts 3 credit hours towards your total class hours for the term. Academic Foundations classes are graded with a letter grade basis.  When you successfully complete your Academic Foundations class your grade will show as a letter grade.  If you fail or withdraw, your grade will show as an F or W. Academic Foundations classes count towards general graduation requirements. 

Whom do I contact for more information?

Your Academic Advisor at Orientation will be your primary source of information. You also may contact our department by email, firstyear@unm.edu. Contact the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Program Development, Sonia Rankin, at 505-277-6515.

Quantitative Reasoning Courses

ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn. As a student works through a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained. ALEKS courses are very complete in their topic coverage and ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions. A student who shows a high level of mastery of an ALEKS course will be successful in the actual course she is taking.

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