What is ALEKS?

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 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 four additional Placement Assessments

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 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?

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 then have a chance to brush 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 Institute values its reputation for a moral leadership as much as its reputation for academic excellence and expects all persons associated with it to maintain this reputation.  The Institute’s Code of Ethics is simple and direct: Rose-Hulman expects its students to be responsible adults and to behave at all times with honor and integrity.

 

FAQ

Preparation

Why must I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?    ALEKS PPL is an online assessment tool that helps Rose evaluate the readiness of incoming students for their mathematics courses.  It also helps students know that they are ready for their first-year math courses.  Most importantly, based on a student’s performance, ALEKS PPL recommends “Preparation and Learning Modules” that will help the student review areas where improvements are needed.

Who has to take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?    All incoming students are expected to take ALEKS PPL.

When do I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

  • All incoming students who wish to register for key pre-requisite courses (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology) are expected to attempt the initial assessment no later than July 31st.
  • You should try to attain a score of at least 78 on the ALEKS PPL Assessment by August 27st.
  • If you can’t complete the initial assessment by July 31st, please contact aleksadmin@rose-hulman.edu to discuss alternative options.

Are ALEKS PPL Assessments proctored?

  • The ALEKS PPL Assessment will be proctored using the remote proctoring system, Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor.
  • Respondus requires the use of a webcam for the proctoring of the Placement Assessment.
  • We reserve the right to require a student to take a Placement Assessment in a proctored environment.

Is there a fee for using ALEKS PPL? No, ALEKS is free.  This includes everything.

Do I need to install any software or plug-ins prior to taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment? No. There are no required plug-ins or applets required with your use of ALEKS PPL. As long as you have access to the internet and are using an updated browser, you should not experience difficulties in taking your Placement Assessment.  When you begin the exam, you will be prompted to download the the ALEKS version of the Respondus LockDown Browser. For a list of preferred browsers, please review the ALEKS system requirements on their support site: http://www.aleks.com/support/system_requirements

What topics are covered during the ALEKS PPL Assessment? 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 at Rose-Hulman. 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).

Can I practice using the ALEKS input tools before I begin the Placement Assessment? 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? ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, you may not use a calculator.

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 result in invalid scoring and may not accurate reflect your knowledge and ability in mathematical topics key to your success at Rose.  The Institute values its reputation for a moral leadership as much as its reputation for academic excellence and expects all persons associated with it to maintain this reputation.  The Institute’s Code of Ethics is simple and direct: Rose-Hulman expects its students to be responsible adults and to behave at all times with honor and integrity.

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 3 hours to complete a Placement Assessment once it has begun.

What happens if I do not complete a Placement Assessment in the allotted time? You will be given a placement result, but it will not be a true reflection of your abilities. You may take a placement assessment up to five times.

I am ready to start my ALEKS PPL Assessment. How do I begin? Step by step instructions for accessing and taking the ALEKS PPL Assessment must be accessed via the Class of 2024 Moodle page.

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.

If your final ALEKS PPL score is below 78 then this may indicate there are mathematical topics you need to further review to ensure you are appropriately prepared for your fall term mathematics class.  In addition to having an ALEKS PPL score below 78, if you have earned credit for mathematics courses (via AP or transfer credit) then you should consider having a discussion with your academic advisor about the best math course to enroll in at Rose; in this case it is worth considering whether academically it is in your best interest to apply AP or transfer credit for some of your math courses. 

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.
  • Your scores will be verified by the math department before the quarter begins.

 

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

What if I scored a 78+ on my ALEKS PPL placement test? Congratulations you are ready to begin your mathematical coursework at Rose-Hulman.  If ALEKS indicated that there was a topic that needed refreshing then we encourage you to work through that Learning Module.  Success in Calculus I is a leading indicator of success (graduation within 4 years) at Rose-Hulman.  We strongly urge you to continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your chances for success at RHIT.  Take advantage of the individualized review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class.

What if I didn’t score a 78+ on ALEKS PPL?  If you haven’t completed all the assessment attempts, then we encourage you to work through the learning modules to brush up on your math skills before you attempt ALEKS PPL again.  If you still have not earned a 78+ after completing your 3rd ALEKS PPL assessment, please contact aleksadmin@rose-hulman.edu for advice on how to improve your studies to increase your score.    

Can I retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment? Yes, you may take up to 5 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. Unlike the SAT or ACT, you cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten or to learn new material.

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? No, access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional Placement Assessments and is being provided free to you.

Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments?
You can retake the Placement assessment up to four 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: Before taking your 2nd attempt, you must wait 48 hours. We encourage you to work through any Prep and Learning Modules where you can review material to improve your score.
  • 3rd attempt: Before taking your 3rd attempt, you must wait 48 hours and spend 3 hours in a Prep and Learning Module.
  • 4th attempt: Before taking your 4th attempt, you must wait 48 hours and spend an additional 5 hours in a Prep and Learning Module.
  • 5th attempt: Before taking your 5th attempt, you must wait 48 hours and spend an additional 5 hours in a Prep and Learning Module.

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. 

Are the modules timed?  You are free to complete the module at your own pace.  If you need to exit the module for any reason, you will be able to log back in and pick up right where you left off.

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.

Technical Support

Who do I contact if I have questions? 

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?

http://www.aleks.com/faqs/technical

http://support.aleks.com/assess_placement

 

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