Uses of MDTP

MDTP tests are designed to measure student readiness for a broad range of mathematics courses. More importantly, the tests were developed to provide students and teachers with diagnostic information about student preparedness. This information can help students identify specific areas where additional study or review is needed. It can help teachers identify topics and skills that need more attention in courses. MDTP tests are diagnostic, not comprehensive; they should not be used as final exams.

Schools should help students interpret their individual test results in ways that best meet the students’ needs. In particular, each K-12 student who takes an MDTP test should be provided with a copy of the student letter that indicates the student’s score and identifies those topics in which more work is needed. Students whose test results indicate readiness for a mathematics course should be encouraged to pursue their mathematics education. They should also be cautioned that success in a course requires good study habits and persistence. Students whose test results indicate inadequate preparation for a particular course should be advised to develop readiness for that course either by individual study or enrollment in a course that will prepare them for it. They should not be counseled out of mathematics.

Since MDTP tests are designed to measure readiness for further mathematics study, no scaling of scores is provided. Raw scores are used for reporting to students and, when used as part of a placement procedure, for providing one reliable indication of the extent to which a student’s current mathematical proficiency matches the skills and knowledge needed for success in a course. Other indicators should also be used. Statistical analysis of test performance and subsequent course performance is a prerequisite to valid uses of test results for placement purposes. This analysis must be undertaken at each school and for each course to determine cut scores and counseling ranges. Moreover, the analysis should continue as long as the tests are used, as they should for any other matriculation assessment instrument.