ALEKS Math Placement

What is ALEKS?

The University of Scranton requires an ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment to determine readiness for mathematics courses. ALEKS PPL is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The Placement Assessment is up to 30 questions and generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete. After the Placement Assessment, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available for students to refresh their knowledge on forgotten topics. Students then have the opportunity to reassess and improve their placement.

ALEKS consists of three parts:

  • An Initial Placement Assessment
  • The Prep and Learning Module, an individualized, self-paced online review
  • Access to 2 additional Placement Assessments

The University of Scranton encourages each student to spend time in the Prep and Learning Module, even if the desired score is achieved, because time spent in ALEKS will ultimately lead to better preparation and improved grades.

What is the purpose of placement testing?

Some kind of a math course is required for graduation of all students at the University of Scranton. The Placement Assessment results will be used to determine the most appropriate courses for each student. After taking a Placement Assessment, students should meet with their advisor to review their results and enroll in the best classes based on their scores. The results of the Placement Assessment do not go on any permanent record and do not affect your GPA at the University.

This is a “Placement Assessment,” not a test. The difference is that a Placement Assessment is designed to determine what a student knows and what a student needs to work on. At the end of the ALEKS PPL Assessment, a student will have a much better sense of his/her strengths and weaknesses in math. Students have a chance to brush up on topics that may have been forgotten or haven’t been practiced for some time.

Be honest. It is important that the Placement Assessment is taken seriously and each student gives it an honest effort so that the Placement Assessment truly reflects their current level of knowledge and math preparedness. There is no benefit to cheating on the Placement Assessment – the only result will be that a student enrolls in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing time and money. Therefore, while taking the Placement Assessment, students should not consult any outside sources for help (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes etc...). The purpose of the Placement Assessment is to give an accurate measure of a student’s current mathematical knowledge state so that he/she will be successful in mathematics courses. The University's Academic Code of Honesty must be honored.

Preparation

The Placement Assessment is used to determine the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest success. Upon completion of the Placement Assessments, your scores are sent to your academic advisor. Your advisor will review your scores and help make appropriate recommendations for course registration.
All incoming University of Scranton students.

Schedule for attempts of the Placement Assessment and optional subsequent work in the Prep and Learning Modules

Attempt

Dates

First

May 4th - May 24th

Second

after 5 hours of remediation - July 16th

Third (final)

after 5 additional hours of remediation - July 16th

 

Use of ALEKS is included in your tuition.
ALEKS PPL Assessments are proctored through the use of LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor.
Yes, you will be asked to photograph your ID with your webcam. Acceptable forms of ID are a learner's permit, driver's license, passport or School ID.

The ALEKS placement assessment requires the installation and use of LockDown Browser and a webcam. Here are additional details: 

  •  You will need a Windows or Mac computer (Chromebooks are not supported) that enables you to install software. The computer will also need a functioning webcam and microphone, since you will be recorded during the assessment.
  • Even if you have previously downloaded LockDown Browser for another course or assignment, you will still need to download this version as it is unique to ALEKS Placement Assessments. The download links are at https://www.aleks.com/support/lockdown_system_requirements. Run the installation program after the download is complete.
  • Once LockDown Browser is installed, go to the following link with a regular browser to test if LockDown Browser will launch properly from your computer. Also perform the webcam check on this page:  https://www.aleks.com/support/lockdown_test
  • If you have any problems with LockDown Browser or the webcam setup, contact ALEKS Support via https://mhedu.force.com/aleks/s/alekscontactsupport or open a support ticket at https://support.respondus.com/

ALEKS PPL is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. The length of the Placement Assessment will vary, but can be up to 30 questions. You will see some, but not all, of the math you have learned in high school. It is a Placement Assessment, not a preview of math courses the University of Scranton. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After you take your first Placement Assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement.

Topics covered:

  • Real numbers (including fractions, integers, and percentages)
  • Equations and inequalities (including linear equations, linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, and quadratic equations),
  • Linear and quadratic functions (including graphs and functions, linear functions, and parabolas), exponents and polynomials (including integer exponents, polynomial arithmetic, factoring, and polynomial equations), rational expressions (including rational equations and rational functions
  • Radical expressions (including higher roots and rational exponents)
  • Exponentials and logarithms (including function compositions and inverse functions, properties of logarithms, and logarithmic equations)
  • Geometry and trigonometry (including perimeter, area, and volume, coordinate geometry, trigonometric functions, and identities and equations).
ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math palette tools before your Placement Assessment begins. The tutorial shows you how to enter different types of answers, how to use the ALEKS calculator, and how to graph. If you aren’t sure how to input an answer, or need help while you are taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment, select the Help button below the answer pallet tools. Going to the tutorial during your Placement Assessment will NOT impact your Placement Assessment results.

Taking the Placement Assessment

What is the format of the questions on ALEKS? ALEKS is not a multiple-choice Placement Assessment. It is open-response and requires you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, then enter them into ALEKS. Be sure to have scratch paper with you.

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS? You may not use a calculator except for the one provided by ALEKS on the screen for the questions where the use of calculator is recommended.

May I use any other resources during a Placement Assessment? You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within ALEKS. You should not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources will lead to improper placement and potentially course failure. It is a violation of the Academic Code of Honesty.

Can I review a question after I've answered it? Because ALEKS is adaptive, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. Be sure to carefully check your answer before submitting your response.

What if I see questions I don’t know?  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 any question that you have familiarity with, however, it is important to do your best. I don't know is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you do not know how to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in the Placement Assessment results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the Placement Assessment, it only helps ALEKS understand what you know and don’t know. 

Are Placement Assessments timed? Yes, you have 2.5 hours to complete a Placement Assessment once it has begun. Be sure to finish the entire Placement Assessment within the allotted time.

I am ready to start my ALEKS PPL Assessment. How do I begin? Click the ALEKS link on the Forms Forms Forms checklist.

Placement Result

What is my placement result? Your placement result (overall score) is a number between 0 and 100. It represents the percentage of topics ALEKS has identified you have mastered.

Course placement is determined as follows:

Course #

Course Name

ALEKS Score Range

MATH 005

Algebra

0-45

MATH 106

(Q) Quantitative Methods I

46-60

MATH 107

(Q) Quantitative Methods II

61-75

MATH 109

(Q) Pre-Calculus Mathematics

61-75

MATH 114

(Q) Calculus I

76-100

MATH 142

(Q) Discrete Structures

61-100

 

Where can I see my score? 

  • You will receive your score immediately upon completion of your Placement Assessment.
  • Your ALEKS score can be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the same access link for which you took the Placement Assessment.

How long is my placement result valid? Your placement result is valid for up to 12 months.

What if I do not place into the course I wanted? This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Prep and Learning Modules offered within ALEKS PPL. An individualized study plan will be created based on your performance on the Initial Placement Assessment. ALEKS will identify what you know and what you are ready to learn next so you can brush up on lost knowledge.

I did not place into the class I wanted. Can I take it anyway? No, you must achieve the minimum placement result to take each corresponding class.

Which math course is required for my program? See the catalog's descriptions for Programs of Study.

What if I placed into the class I wanted? Congratulations! Continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your chances for success. The placement result required is the minimum preparation for your course. Take advantage of the individualized review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class.

Can I retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment? Yes, you may take up to 3 Placement Assessments. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments so that you can improve your skills.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately?  
You must wait 48 hours between Placement Assessments. There is generally no benefit to re-taking the Placement Assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. You cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the Placement Assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten.

Prep and Learning Modules

How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module? You will have 12 months of access to your Prep and Learning module. Access to the prep course will not begin until you select start on the top of your screen. DO NOT select into the Prep and Learning Module until you are ready to start working.

Is there an additional fee for my Prep and Learning Module? Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional Placement Assessments.

Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments? 
You can retake the Placement assessment up to two additional times to improve your score. (The highest score will be used for math placement). Students are required to work in the Prep and Learning Modules for a specific amount of time prior to each Placement Assessment to increase success.

  • 2nd attempt—required to complete 5 hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • 3rd attempt—required to complete 5 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.

What are ALEKS Knowledge Checks? While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete a Knowledge Check to make sure you have mastered the topics you gained in Learning Mode. If you do not show mastery during the Knowledge Check, the topics will be added back into your Learning Pie so you can review them again. 

Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement? No. You must complete a new Placement Assessment to change your placement result. Select the placement tab in the upper right corner of the ALEKS page to start a new Placement Assessment.

Can I change to a different Prep and Learning Module later? No. You may only use one Prep and Learning Module. If you are unsure which module to select, use the module recommended by ALEKS or consult with your advisor.

Technical Support

What do I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I'm taking the Placement Assessment? Simply close the browser, or log out and log back in. ALEKS will resume the Placement Assessment exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers.

Where can I get help with ALEKS?

https://mhedu.force.com/aleks/s/alekscontactsupport

https://support.respondus.com/