ALEKS Placement, Preparation, and Learning (ALEKS PPL) is a state-of-the-art assessment tool that uses artificial intelligence to identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses in mathematics. It then makes recommendations to help ensure the student’s success in their first college mathematics course.
ALEKS consists of three parts:
After completing an initial unproctored Placement Assessment, the individualized Prep and Learning Module allows students the opportunity to refresh their knowledge on forgotten topics. Students then have the opportunity to repeat the Placement Assessment in a proctored environment and improve their placement. Only proctored assessments may be used for placement into NKU courses.
ALEKS is entirely web-based and can be used from any computer, even from the comfort of your own home. The proctored assessment will require a webcam. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of ALEKS in improving success rates and helping students attain their desired goals.
The only purpose of the assessment is to obtain an accurate measure of your current mathematical skills in order to improve your chances of success in your coursework. Note that this is a “Placement Assessment,” and 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. Because of this, there is no benefit to inaccurately representing your score, because taking a class that is inappropriate for you could delay your graduation and make your degree more costly.
Therefore, while taking the Assessment, you should not consult any other source for help – no friends, parents, textbooks or internet sources – and you should do your best honest work. Moreover, as an NKU student, you are expected to adhere to the Student Honor Code as written in Section H of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
ALEKS avoids the common multiple-choice format which is often ineffective for assessment purposes. Instead, ALEKS requires you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, and then enter your answers. You should be sure to have plenty of scratch paper available.
ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the system 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. Take your time with this tutorial, and be sure you understand how these features work before you begin.
At any time during the assessment, if you aren’t sure how to input an answer, select the Help button below the answer pallet tools. Going back to the introductory tutorial during your Placement Assessment is always allowed and will not affect your results.
ALEKS provides both excellent assessment and personalized learning tools giving students the ability to improve their initial placement into MAT/STA coursework. The following groups of students may find ALEKS particularly helpful:
Access to ALEKS is $25, paid online with a credit card. Proctoring is done via ProctorU for a charge of $10 per assessment. Only proctored assessment may be used for placement into NKU courses.
When using ALEKS, the goal is to place a student in the most appropriate course given their math background. The $35 charge (assuming one proctored assessment) is much less costly than potentially repeating coursework if you are underprepared.
ALEKS is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad range of mathematics topics. Since ALEKS adjusts its questions based on previous responses, topics covered will vary from one student to the next. However, you will probably see topics similar to those you have learned in high school, such as some of the following: fractions, percentages, equations and inequalities, functions, graphs, exponents, roots, logarithms, geometry, and possibly some trigonometry.
Presentation of subsequent topics depends on your responses to prior questions, so not all of these topics will be presented to every student. Most students will encounter some questions that they do not know how to answer – this is normal, and should not be a cause for concern. The important thing is to simply provide your best honest responses.
Remember that ALEKS is designed to identify which courses you are prepared to take. After you complete your first Placement Assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics and a chance to repeat the assessment, if you want to, in order to possibly improve your placement.