Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Get to Know ALEKS PPL

See How ALEKS PPL Works

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  • What is ALEKS?

    Aassessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) is an artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine what a student may or may not know, resources to learn math topics, and reassessment to make sure that the material learned is being retained.

  • How does ALEKS work?

    ALEKS adapts questions based on responses to questions to identify areas that you have "mastered" and areas that may need more development. ALEKS mimics how you solve math problems with a pencil and paper. Instead of using multiple-choice questions, ALEKS walks you through a tutorial on how to submit your answers and using the ALEKS tools.

  • What steps do I take to complete the ALEKS assessment?

    First, you start with the Initial Knowledge Check. Second, study and practice as you work through individualized course modules in learning mode. Third, take the proctored assessment for your placement score. With that score, we have a better idea of the math course to advise you to take for Fall. See below for more info about the proctored assessment.

  • Do I have to be a Chico State student to start ALEKS?

    Since your ALEKS code and score will only be used at CSU, Chico, you should submit your intent to enroll to commit to Chico before starting. The intent-to-enroll deadline is May 1. ALEKS is used at many campuses but is not shared between them. 

  • When should I start ALEKS?

    If you intend to be a Wildcat, the sooner you start, the more time you have to study, prepare, and practice before your proctored assessment. Aim for completing all three steps of ALEKS by June 15.

    Your first chance to register for Fall 2021 courses happens at Summer Orientation (sessions held in June and July). You should complete the ALEKS proctored assessment prior to your orientation session for priority math enrollment and course schedule options. The more time that you can dedicate in the coming months to utilizing the individualized learning modules in ALEKS, the more likely you can increase your placement for math and move further in the MATH sequence for your major. This is especially important for majors that require coursework beyond MATH 120: Analytic Geometry & Calculus I.

  • I took the ALEKS initial knowledge check, now what?

    Once you have completed the initial assessment, ALEKS has a specialized understanding of your knowledge and the topics you have "mastered". You are given a personalized pie chart representing your areas of knowledge and gain entry into the Learning Mode of ALEKS. You can begin with any topics you are ready to learn and work your way through the modules, providing practice problems to confirm your understanding of the core concepts and materials if you need further explanation. Once you consistently get the correct answers, ALEKS considers the topic "mastered" and you move on to choose another topic. As you complete topic areas, ALEKS continues to update your Learning Mode map.

  • Will there be any resources or support beyond ALEKS?

    Yes! This summer, ECC students are invited to participate in the ECC-PALs program starting June 1st. Drop-in for math tutoring, modules in ALEKS, and utilized concepts in mini activities. Get help from Math Education majors and advice for navigating math in your major. You can also participate in the Math & Engineering Bootcamp or one of our other summer programs to connect with incoming students, faculty, and peer mentor support. We encourage you to participate in a summer experience to prepare for the fall.

  • I'm in the Learning Mode, do I really need to do this?

    The work you put in now will pay off. By working through the concepts, demonstrating your "mastery" of topics, and brushing up you may move further along in the MATH sequence of your major. This could save a semester or more of preparation and better advise your fall math course.

  • How long does an ALEKS assessment take?

    Typically, an assessment takes around 90 minutes to complete but you will be allowed up to 120 minutes. Students get between 20-30 questions to answer.

  • How much does ALEKS cost?

    ALEKS is free but utilizing ProctorU for the assessment costs $10 per testing session.

  • What is covered on the ALEKS assessment?

    ALEKS covers a broad spectrum of math topics from arithmetic through precalculus. You will solve no more than 30 problems during an assessment. After you respond to a question, ALEKS refines its logic and algorithms to build future questions. You may come across topics that you have not seen before - that is ok! ALEKS is assessing not only what you appear to know, but areas that may need additional study in the modules.

  • What are some examples of the MATH topics covered?

    Examples include Real Numbers (fractions, integers, and percentages). Equations and Inequalities (linear equations, linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, and quadratic equations). Linear and Quadratic Functions (graphs and functions, linear functions, and parabolas). Exponents and Polynomials (integer components, polynomial arithmetic, factoring, and polynomial equations). Rational and Radical Expressions (rational equations and functions, higher roots, and rational exponents). Geometry (perimeter, area, volume, coordinate geometry). Exponentials and Logarithms (function composites and inverses, logarithmic identities, and equations). Trigonometry (trigonometric functions, identities, and equations).

  • Can I fail the ALEKS assessment?

    No! This is not a pass/fail or even an exam. ALEKS is meant to determine what MATH concepts you have a good understanding of and what areas may need some additional development. The initial assessment gives a good sense of where you are and tailors modules to prepare for what is to come in the math courses ahead in your major. By taking the time to study and practice after the assessment, you can develop or brush up on topics that you may not have learned about or remember. The proctored assessment provides better insight on how to advise you for your Fall 2021 math course. 

  • What if I am not happy with my proctored assessment results?

    You are welcome to take a proctored assessment more than once. You have a total of four attempts however, we typically would not recommend more than two. If you hoped to place further ahead in math for fall, take the time to revisit the ALEKS modules, practice, practice, practice, and attempt another proctored assessment. Final scores will be accepted up through one week prior to the first day of the fall semester.

  • What if I do not start or complete ALEKS?

    Certainly, ALEKS is not required. However, your placement based on the multiple measures will still determine the math course you are eligible for in the fall. The hope is that ALEKS better prepares you for the coursework ahead, or may enhance your math understanding to place you further along the math sequence of your major. Students have to follow math prerequisites for courses in their major, so students may end up with multiple additional preparatory math courses before getting into math in the major or associated coursework.

  • Can I use a calculator, textbook, notes, or other study aides during the ALEKS assessment?

    ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator for complicated calculations. The assessment is open response and requires you to work out solutions with paper and pencil and then enter into ALEKS. That means no Google, calculators, notes, texts, or group solving. ALEKS is meant to help, so give an answer a try, take your time, and take breaks if needed.

  • How much time do I have to complete the initial assessment?

    Once you start the initial assessment, you have 24 hours to complete it. Take your time, proofread your answers, check your work, and trust your instincts. We recommend attempting all of the math problems and only using the "I don't know" button if you don't know where to start.

  • How long do I have access to ALEKS?

    You have access to continue using ALEKS for a year. Even as you begin coursework in the fall, if you need to go back over topics, you can log back into the Learning Mode to get more support, explanations, and resources.

Math Placement Advising
Pamela Morrell
Graduate & Developmental Math Coordinator
(530) 898-3487

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