Transitional Academic Studies
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FAQs

What is Transitional Academic Studies?
How are students placed into prescribed courses?
What is the ALEKS exam?
What is COMPASS and how do I register for the test?
How are COMPASS scores used?
Can anyone enroll in prescribed courses?
Is it permissible to skip one course in the sequence?
Can I audit the course?
I cannot find the Reading course in Spectrum Student Self Service.
And what about prescribed English courses?
I have heard about "combo" or "fast-track" sections of math.  What is that?
If I realize I am doing poorly in a prescribed course, where should I go for help?


What is Transitional Academic Studies?
Transitional Academic Studies (TRAC) at the University of Memphis permits students to enroll in prescribed courses to develop the academic competencies necessary for success in college level courses.  Major components of the program included testing and placement in appropriate level courses. 


How are students placed into prescribed courses?
Students admitted to The University of Memphis as beginning freshmen will be placed in appropriate English, math, and reading courses based on ACT subscores that are less than 3 years old. 

  • Students with ACT reading subscores below 19 are required to enroll in ACAD 1100.
  • Students with ACT English subscores below 18 are required to enroll in prescribed English courses.

If students feel they have been misplaced by their ACT subscores in English and reading, they may take the COMPASS test to attempt to place in a higher level course.

  • All students, regardless of their ACT math subscore, are required to take the ALEKS placement exam for math.

Students without ACT scores will be required to take the COMPASS placement test to determine if they have the appropriate academic skills to successfully complete college level courses. Depending on the results of this test, students may be required to take one or more prescribed courses. The following regulations regarding placement tests and course enrollment will apply:

COMPASS testing is required of students whose ACT (SAT) scores are more than 3 years old, transfer students with no college level credit in English, non-degree seeking students before enrollment in English, and students with no ACT/SAT scores.

ALEKS testing is required of transfer students with no college level credit in math, and non-degree seeking students before enrollment in a math course.

 


What is the ALEKS Exam?
The ALEKS Exam covers a broad spectrum of pre-calculus material. The ALEKS system is fully automated and the ALEKS assessment is adaptive. The first questions asked will be drawn from across the curriculum, and may be too easy or too hard. As the assessment proceeds, your answers will be used to give the system an idea of your knowledge, and it will gradually focus the questioning in an individually appropriate way. By the end of the assessment you should find the questions generally challenging but reasonable for your individual level of knowledge.

The length of the assessment runs from 35-40 questions. The exact number of questions will vary due to the adaptive mechanism just described. It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer, "I don't know." On the other hand, you should do your best to answer any question concerning topics you are familiar with. "I don't know" is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you do not know the topic, and this will be reflected in the assessment results. If you do not do your best on the assessment, ALEKS will underestimate your knowledge.

 

What is COMPASS and how do I register for the test?
COMPASS is an untimed, computerized test that helps your advisor evaluate your skills and place you into appropriate courses.  COMPASS offers tests in reading and writing.  You will receive your COMPASS test results immediately upon completion of testing, and your score report will include placement messages informing you what courses you should take.

Registration information can be obtained by visiting our COMPASS web page.

 


How are COMPASS scores used?
COMPASS is not used like a traditional test.  There is generally no "passing score."  Rather, COMPASS scores indicate areas in which you are strong and areas in which you may need help.  Thus, COMPASS can identify problems in major subject areas before they disrupt your educational progress, giving you the opportunity to prepare more effectively for needed courses.

 

Can anyone enroll in prescribed courses?
Enrollment in any prescribed course is restricted to students who have been placed by their ACT subscores or who have taken the appropriate placement test. Self-placement without testing is not permitted.


Is it permissible to skip one course in the sequence?
Students placing in prescribed courses must enroll in and begin each subject-area sequence at the level indicated by their ACT/SAT placement or the COMPASS test results and complete that particular sequence before enrolling in the subsequent level (college level) course.

 

Can I audit the course?
Audits are not permitted in the Transitional Academic Studies program.

 

 

I cannot find the prescribed Reading course in Spectrum Student Self Service.
Students required to enroll in prescribed reading courses may take ACAD 1100 to fulfill these requirements.

 


And what about prescribed English courses?
Students with ACT English subscores below 18 are required to enroll in prescribed English courses.  Students required to enroll in prescribed English courses may take special sections of ENGL 1010 that meet 5 hours a week. Students must check with their advisor to determine which English course is appropriate for them.

 


I have heard about "combo" or "fast-track" sections of math.  What is that?
Students will be placed in a math course based on the results of the ALEKS placement exam.  Students must check with their advisor to determine which college level math course is appropriate for them.

 

If I realize I am doing poorly in a prescribed course, where should I go for help?
Students requiring prescribed courses should be advised in the Academic Counseling Center, 212 Wilder Tower.  The academic advisors are trained professionals who can refer you to campus resources to help with whatever academic or personal problems you are having.  TRAC students are encouraged to take advantage of these services whenever they are having problems.

Transitional Academic Studies
The University of Memphis
212 Wilder Tower
Memphis, Tennessee 38152
Phone: (901)678-2028
Fax: (901)678-4605

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Last Updated: 3/26/12