ASEs administered online again, math diagnostic returns to campus

18.01 ASE sees increase in exam takers due to changed credit criteria

9629 math department door
The mathematics department saw a larger number of participants in the 18.01 ASE than in previous years due to changes in credit eligibility.
Farin Tavacoli–The Tech

Advanced Standing Exams (ASE) were administered virtually Aug. 2–18 before orientation this year. The ASEs offered this year were Principles of Chemical Science (5.111), Introduction to Computer Science and Programming in Python (6.0001), Introductory Biology (7.01x), Physics I (8.01), Physics II (8.02), Physics III (8.03), Quantum Physics I (8.04), Single Variable Calculus (18.01), Multivariable Calculus (18.02), Differential Equations (18.03), and Linear Algebra (18.06).

Elizabeth Young, associate dean and director of first-year advising and programming, provided the 2021 ASE data in an email to The Tech.

For math ASEs, the department provided two online sittings for each test, along with an extra in-person sitting for 18.01. 

810 students took the 18.01 ASE, with 524 students passing it completely, and 168 students passing the first portion only. Students who passed the first portion only were eligible to take 18.01A. 

Vastly more students wrote the 18.01 ASE than in past years (180 students took the exam last fall) because MIT changed its criteria for receiving 18.01 credit “due to difficulties with pandemic testing and evaluation.” According to Young, “The only way to obtain credit for 18.01 from prior work for this year's entering class was to pass the 18.01 ASE (or be awarded transfer credit if a comparable subject was taken at another university).”

In previous years, students could receive credit for 18.01 by earning a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement Calculus BC exam and receiving a passing score on the math diagnostic exam.

217 students took the 18.02 ASE, and 183 (84.3%) passed, increasing from last year’s pass rate of 77.0%. 63 students took the 18.03 ASE, and 58 (92.1%) passed. 64 students took the 18.06 ASE, and 59 (92.2%) passed.

The 18.03 and 18.06 ASEs were not offered last fall. 

136 of the 205 (66.3%) students that took the 7.01x ASE passed; last year’s pass rate was 89.2%.

186 students took the 5.111 ASE, with 39 passing for a pass rate of 20.9%. The chemistry department did not offer ASEs last summer.

For the physics ASEs, 184 students took the 8.01 exam, and 65 (35.3%) passed, compared to 41.3% passing in Fall 2020. 195 students took the 8.02 exam, and 123 (63.1%) passed for a similar pass rate to that of Fall 2020 (62.6%). 18 students took the 8.03 exam, and 17 (94.4%) passed. 11 students took the 8.04 exam, and all of them passed. 

The annual math diagnostic exam was offered in person Aug. 30 during orientation week after being administered online in Fall 2020. 862 first year students took it, and their scores informed their advisors to give advice on which version of 8.01 the student should take. Thus, the exam was mandatory for all first years without credit for 8.01.

Director Young did not provide information about participants in the 6.0001 ASE.