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ALEKS-PPL: Frequently Asked Questions & Information

What is ALEKS-PPL?

Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces Preparation: Placement and Learning (ALEKS-PPL) is a computer-adaptive assessment system that uses intelligent software to help determine the best level of math coursework for each student. ALEKS's programming uses a pre-assessment to determine how to best help you prepare with customized learning modules for your proctored post-assessment.

Incoming freshmen for the College of Engineering are required to use ALEKS. Computer adaptive assessments like ALEKS use input from the student's performance to change the questions each student receives as they go through the test. No two students will see the same questions in the same order. This means there is no "going back" to a question that was tricky earlier. However, the difficulty of the test should adjust to the student's level and ability as long as the student provides an honest demonstration of what they can do.

It includes three parts:

  1. ALEKS Unproctored Pre-Assessment. This test does not determine your class placement. The unproctored pre-assessment is not unlike the pretests a student may have seen in high school: it is an attempt to determine how much college math a student is prepared for to help determine what modules each student needs. Your ALEKS pre-assessment should be an honest reflection of your current ability so that the ALEKS system can help you improve. Do not use external resources like your phone, textbooks, or assistance from others, as ALEKS will not be able to deliver the best possible modules for you if you inflate your score and it is likely you will not see success on the post-assessment.
  2. ALEKS Learning Modules. These modules are selected for each student based on their test performance. 20 hours minimum of work in the ALEKS Prep and Learning Modules are required to take another unproctored assessment to check your progress. Data from the pilot of the ALEKS program last year suggests that the more time you spend in your ALEKS modules, the more likely you will see an improved score and a better math class placement. For instance, two students who scored below 45 on the first test spent around 180 hours during the summer to gain 30 points in their proctored test, resulting in placing in 2-3 courses higher.
  3. ALEKS Proctored Post-Assessment. A student's score on their proctored post-assessment determines their math course placement at Old Dominion University. The score table will appear to you at the end of your pre-assessment to allow you to gauge what courses you are prepared for. The post-assessment will be taken at least one week before your freshman Preview(Monarch Orientation) unless you are enrolled in the Summer Bridge.

How can I prepare for ALEKS-PPL?

Remember: the unproctored version of ALEKS is a pre-assessment and is trying to determine how to help you improve and succeed. Do your best, but do not use any resources other than your own mind, a few pieces of paper, and a pencil. The following tips are recommended to help you do your best on your pre-assessment:

  • Find a quiet place free of distractions to take your assessment.
  • Allow at least 2 hours to take the pre-assessment. That time should be free of interruptions.
  • Keep paper and a pencil with you to help you solve the problems.
  • You can expect between 25 and 35 questions on ALEKS. This number will vary because the software is trying to determine your level. The more consistent you are with your ability, the more likely ALEKS can determine your level quickly.
  • All the problems will be open-answer (no multiple-choice). If you cannot solve a problem, typing "I don't know" is okay: but try your best to solve as many problems as you can on your own.
  • Review your results at the end of the assessment and use the learning modules you were assigned to help you improve.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I take ALEKS-PPL if I am not an Engineering Freshman?

At this time, only incoming freshmen for the College of Engineering and Technology will be taking the ALEKS-PPL assessment system. Transfer students including transfers into the College of Engineering and Technology, and incoming freshmen outside of Engineering, will not use ALEKS-PPL. If you are not an engineering freshman, please refer to the ACCUPLACER information page.

  • What if I have AP, IB, dual enrollment, or CLEP credit?

You still will need to take the ALEKS-PPL assessments to determine your class placement if you intend to major in an Engineering discipline.

  • Can I use a calculator or my phone while working in ALEKS-PPL?

Phone and calculator use is not permitted during either your unproctored or proctored assessment. An on-screen calculator will be available for all students on questions where a calculator is necessary.

  • I need an accommodation for my ALEKS-PPL assessment. What do I do?

If you have a disability that will impact your ability to demonstrate your level of math preparedness accurately, please contact the Office of Educational Accessibility to register your legal documents and ensure the university is aware of your individualized needs. Once you have registered with the office and had your test accommodation request approved, reasonable accommodations will be provided.

  • What math course did I place into?

The scores on ALEKS-PPL range from 0 to 100 and a score table will be provided to you at the end of your unproctored pre-assessment. The table will indicate which class you could test into based on your performance on the pre-assessment.

  • I am happy with my class placement based on the pre-assessment score. Do I have to do the modules and the proctored post-assessment?

Yes, you still have to do the modules and take the post-assessment. Your pre-assessment score is not considered valid for class placement. You must use the practice modules for the required number of hours and take the proctored post-assessment. You are likely to see improvement and better preparation for the rigors of your freshman year math courses if all directions are followed.

  • Where do I go to take ALEKS?

You will recieve the ALEKS login link through your email on or after May 1.

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