ALEKS Placement

What is ALEKS?
North Idaho College requires an ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment for math placement for all students who: do not meet minimum ACT or SAT math scores, whose test scores are more than four years old (even if they meet the minimums), or who do not have prior college coursework in math from another college. ALEKS PPL is a webbased program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses and determine the student’s readiness for mathematics courses. ALEKS consists of three parts:
 An initial proctored Placement Assessment
 The Prep and Learning Module (an individualized, selfpaced online review)
 Access to four additional proctored Placement Assessment attempts
The Placement Assessment is up to 30 questions covering material from Basic Mathematics through PreCalculus and generally takes 6090 minutes to complete. After the first Placement Assessment attempt, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is created for students to refresh their math knowledge and skills. Students must work 3 hours in their Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessment attempts. In addition, there is a 24 hour waiting period between attempts.
Visit the Testing Center for instructions on scheduling an inperson proctored assessment or taking a virtual proctored assessment.

What is
the purpose of the Placement Assessment?
The purpose of the Placement Assessment is to obtain an accurate measure of a student’s current mathematical knowledge and skill level. Placement Assessment results are used to determine the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest likelihood for success. After taking a Placement Assessment, students should meet with their advisor or counselor to review their results and determine which class they should enroll in.
Relax. 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 up on topics that they have forgotten or haven’t practiced for some time and then retake the assessment.
Be honest. There is no benefit to cheating on the Placement Assessment. It is important for students to take the Placement Assessment seriously and give it an honest effort so the results truly reflect their current level of knowledge and math preparedness. Students must adhere to all NIC Testing Center Policies, respect other testers, and exercise complete academic integrity at all times. For a complete explanation of the North Idaho College Statement on Academic Honesty & Academic Integrity please refer to Policy 5.06 & Procedure 5.06.01: http://www.nic.edu/policy/.

Preparation

Who has to take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?
All students who wish to take mathematics courses at North Idaho College and do not have ACT or SAT scores four years old or less that meet placement requirements, or who do not have prior college coursework in math from another college. View placement information

Where can I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?
Please visit the Testing Center's Math Assessment website for instructions on how and where to take the Placement Assessment.

Are ALEKS PPL Assessments proctored?
Yes, all Placement Assessment attempts must be proctored. Only results from a proctored placement attempt will be used for placement purposes.

Is there a fee for using ALEKS PPL?
At this time, there is no fee associated with the use of ALEKS PPL if you are using it for math placement at North Idaho College.

Do I need to install any software or plugins prior to using ALEKS PPL?
You will need to download the Respondus LockDown Browser and run the installation program in order to take an online proctored placement assessment. Otherwise, there are no required plugins or applets to use ALEKS PPL. As long as you have access to the internet and are using an updated browser, you should not experience difficulties. For a list of preferred browsers, please review the system requirements on the ALEKS support site.

What topics are covered during the ALEKS PPL Assessment?
ALEKS PPL is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics from Basic Mathematics to PreCalculus. The length of the Placement Assessment will vary, but it can be up to 30 questions that cover the following topics:
 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.

Who has to take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

Taking the Placement Assessment

What is the format of the questions on ALEKS?
ALEKS is not a multiplechoice assessment. It is openresponse and requires you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, then enter them into ALEKS. Your proctor will provide you with scratch paper and pencils to use during the assessment.

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?
ALEKS will provide an onscreen calculator for specific problems. 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 lead to improper placement and potentially course failure. Referring to materials or information that is not allowed in a testing situation is a violation of North Idaho College’s Academic Integrity Policy (5.06.01).

Any suggestions to help me perform my best on the placement
assessment?
We recommend that you read the ALEKS Proctored Assessment Tips for suggestions on how to perform your best on the placement assessment.

Can I change my answer to a question?
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. It is important to answer all questions covering topics that you are familiar with. I don't know is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you do not know how to solve the problem, and this is 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 proctored Placement Assessment once it has begun.

What happens if I do not complete a Placement Assessment in the allotted time?
The Placement Assessment is proctored and timed. You will be given a placement result, but it may not be a true reflection of your abilities.

What is the format of the questions on ALEKS?

Placement Results

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 determined you have mastered. Your score is used to determine the appropriate mathematics course for registration.

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 reentering ALEKS using the same access link you used to take the Placement Assessment.
 Your scores are automatically added to your student profile, which is accessible by your advisor or counselor.
 Your scores will be verified by the Registrar’s Office before the semester begins.

How long is my placement result valid?
Your placement result is valid for 48 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 work on improving your math skills.

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 mathematics course is required for my program?
Please contact your advisor or counselor if you have questions about the appropriate mathematics course for your intended program of study.

What if I placed into the class I wanted?
Congratulations! Even if the desired score is achieved in the first Assessment attempt, North Idaho College encourages each student to take advantage of the individualized review and learning features in ALEKS to prepare for your class. Time spent working in ALEKS will lead to better preparation for your mathematics course and improve your chances for success.

Can I retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment?
Yes, you may take up to four additional Placement Assessments. However, you must work a minimum of three hours in your Prep and Learning Module to help improve your math skills between each Placement Assessment attempt. Students who want to achieve a significant increase in their score will typically work more than 3 hours in their module.

Can I retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment immediately?
You must wait a minimum of 24 hours between Placement Assessment attempts and work a minimum of three hours in the Prep and Learning Module between each attempt. There is generally no benefit to retaking the Placement Assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. You cannot improve your results by simply retaking the Placement Assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten.

What is my placement result?

Prep and Learning Modules

How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module?
You will have 12 months to access your Prep and Learning module. The access period begins when you first register for an ALEKS PPL account.

Is there a fee for my Prep and Learning Module?
No, access to a Prep and Learning Module is included with your ALEKS PPL account.

Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments?
Yes, students are required to work in their Prep and Learning Module for a minimum of three hours between each Placement Assessment attempt in order to increase their success.

Are there any resources to help me use the Prep and Learning Module
effectively?
The NIC Math Education Center provides students with assistance using their Prep and Learning Module to improve their math skills and prepare to retake the Math placement assessment. Contact the Math Education Center at (208) 6767139 or mathedcenter@nic.edu to request ALEKS PPL support.
Detailed information on how to use ALEKS PPL is available in the New ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning Student Module Reference Guide.

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 have learned. 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. Once you have spent a minimum of three hours practicing within the Prep and Learning Module and it has been 24 hours since your last attempt, you may take another attempt at an NIC approved location.

How does ALEKS determine which Prep and Learning Module I should work in?
ALEKS will select a module for you to work in based on the results of your initial Placement Assessment.

Can I change to a different Prep and Learning Module later?
Yes, if you master all of the topics in your Prep and Learning module and want to continue working in ALEKS to improve your math skills, contact the Math Education Center (mathedcenter@nic.edu) about gaining access to the next higher level module.

How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module?

Technical Support

What should I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I'm taking the Placement Assessment?
If your computer or internet stops working and then comes back online, try logging back into your ALEKS account and repeat the Startup Sequence. ALEKS will resume the Placement Assessment exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers.
If you are unable to restart due to a technical issue, contact the NIC Help Desk or submit a ticket to record the issue and obtain assistance.
 Where can I get help with ALEKS?

What should I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I'm taking the Placement Assessment?