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What is ALEKS?

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:

  • An initial Placement Assessment, with recommendations for appropriate NKU courses
  • The Prep and Learning Module, which provides an individualized, self-paced online review
  • Access to two additional Placement Assessments within a one-year period

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.


Be Honest

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.


What to Expect

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.