An introductory CS1 course presents problems for educators and students due to students' diverse background in programming knowledge and exposure. Students who enroll in CS1 also have different expectations and motivations. Prompted by the curricular guidelines for undergraduate programs in computer science released in 2001 by the ACM/IEEE, and driven by a departmental project to reinvent the undergraduate computer science and computer engineering curricula at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we are currently implementing a series of changes which will improve our introductory courses. One key component of our project is an online placement examination tied to the cognitive domain that assesses student knowledge and intellectual skills. Our placement test is also integrated into a comprehensive educational research design containing a pre- and post-test framework for assessing student learning. In this paper, we focus on the design and implementation of our placement exam and present an analysis of the data collected to date.