Welcome to the Department of Mathematics

Department of Mathematics at Illinois State University
About the ALEKS Placement Assessment

ISU is now using the ALEKS Placement, Preparation, and Learning (ALEKS PPL) program to determine placement in initial mathematics courses at ISU. Information about the ALEKS Placement at ISU can be found here. ALEKS PPL combines a research-based, accurate placement assessment with personalized learning tools to help students refresh on lost knowledge to help students prepare for mathematics courses that will help them meet their goals.

We note that accurate mathematics placement is important to a students success. A math placement program can have far reaching effects on students. When students are not prepared for a mathematics course, it could have significant costs in terms of tuition needed to retake courses and time to graduation. As such, it is important that students taking the ALEKS PPL assessments take this assessment as the developers of this assessment intended in order to get the most accurate and beneficial results.

While ISU does not currentlty require the proctoring of the ALEKS PPL assessment at this time, we have worked with the ALEKS corporation to identify indicators that the assessment score might not be a good measure of a student’s preparation for a particular math course. These indicators have been developed by studying data of the performance of ISU students in their math classes as well as the data on student success that ALEKS has studied from numerous other institutions who have implemented ALEKS. As such, we reserve the right to invalidate a score and require a student to take the ALEKS PPL in a proctored, timed environment when one or more of these indicators arise.

Two important indicators that can prompt a review by ISU are an unusually long time in taking the assessment (on average, a student should be able to complete this assessment in 90 minutes) or a significant jump in score from one attempt to the next. Factors we will consider in reviewing a student’s ALEKS scores are:

  • Total time spent on an attempt of the ALEKS PPL placement exam.
  • Significant increases in the scores from previous attempts.
  • Grades in previous mathematics courses.
  • Time spent between attempts working on the review modules.
  • Scores on other standardized tests.

It is important to understand that our goal is to have the most accurate assessment of a student’s background so we can place them in the mathematics courses that they need and are prepared for. By having a student retake the ALEKS placement in a proctored environment, we are better able to place a student in the math class that they are most likely to be able to succeed in.

NOTE: An additional fee is typically required to take this placement in a proctored environment.