students on Puyallup campus

Welcome! This page is intended to provide you with information about the why, what, who and when of Guided Self Placement for Math at Pierce College.

Why do we have Math GSP?

The math department moved to Guided Self Placement (GSP) because we felt that existing placement tests did not accurately place students into the courses offered at Pierce College. Our move to GSP represents a desire to acknowledge and honor each individual’s unique experiences and trust students to make informed decisions about what is best for them.

GSP is based on the following beliefs:

  • Students should be empowered to successfully complete college level math as soon as possible in their education.          
  • All students can learn math with sufficient effort and adequate support.
  • A student’s previous math experiences and confidence level are helpful for determining their math placement.
  • Students are capable of choosing the math class that is most appropriate for them, given adequate information.

What is Math GSP?

Math GSP is a short survey that will take you through a series of questions about your chosen career pathway, your previous math courses, and your assessment of your math knowledge and abilities.

  • To complete GSP, it is important that you have considered which career pathway you plan to pursue at Pierce College. If you have not yet decided on a career pathway, explore career pathways now.
  • The classes you will take depend on the career pathway you choose. Therefore, you should look at the course map for your selected pathway to determine which math classes will be required. If you need assistance with this, you should contact advising.
  • You will also be asked for information about your math history, including which math class you took most recently and the grade you received. Having accurate information is important to helping you make the best decision!
  • Based on your answers to the previous questions about career pathway and math experience, you will be presented with a series of math problems for which you will be given the opportunity to assess your own familiarity and understanding.

Please come prepared with the above information, but remember that this is not a typical math placement exam! We do not want GSP to be the cause of worry or anxiety. The results of GSP are flexible, meaning you can change your mind or get more information from an advisor or a member of the Math department.

Upon completion of the survey, you will be provided with a recommendation about which math course is the best starting place for you. The next step is to bring this recommendation to your student success coach for a conversation about which course you will register for.

Who should take Math GSP? 

Math GSP is intended for students taking their first math class at Pierce College.

If you need any of these courses as the first math course for your degree or program, you will need to take MATH GSP to determine your placement:

  • MATH 98 (Intermediate Algebra for Precalculus)
  • MATH& 107 (Math in Society)
  • MATH 111 (College Math for Early Childhood Education)
  • MATH& 131 (Math for Elementary Education I)
  • MATH& 132 (Math for Elementary Education II)
  • MATH& 141 (Precalculus I)
  • MATH& 146 (Introduction to Statistics)
  • MATH 147 (Business Precalculus)

If you need any other course (Precalculus II or above) for which you have the prerequisite or an alternate means of eligibility, you do not need to take Math GSP.  Instead, you can proceed directly to your student success coach for assistance. Note that they may ask for transcripts for courses that you took outside of Pierce College or other documentation for tests such Advanced Placement or CLEP that might qualify you for these courses.

When should Math GSP be taken?

Currently, Math GSP is only available to new students as part of the New Student Guide. You will need to complete it as your very first step, prior to scheduling your first advising appointment and registering for classes.