Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Get to Know ALEKS PPL

ALEKS PPL Overview

ALEKS PPL Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is ALEKS?

    Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces- Practice, Preparation, and Learning (ALEKS PPL) is an artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS PPL 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 PPL work?

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

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

    First, you start with the initial knowledge check to determine what you already know and have mastered and identify areas to practice. Second, study and practice as you work through individualized course modules in learning mode. Third, take the proctored assessment for your placement score to determine your readiness in math and/or calculus. With that score, we have a better idea of the math course to advise you to take for your first semester. See below for additional info about the proctored assessment.

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

    Yes, since your ALEKS PPL 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 (extended to June 1, 2022). ALEKS PPL is used at many campuses but is not shared between them. 

  • When should I start ALEKS PPL?

    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 PPL by June 10.

    Your first chance to register for Fall 2022 courses happens at Orientation (sessions held in June and July). You should complete the ALEKS PPL 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 PPL, the more likely you can improve 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 PPL Initial Knowledge Check, now what?

    Once you have completed the initial assessment, ALEKS PPL has an understanding of your math reasoning, topics you have "mastered", and those you need to review. From there, you are given a personalized pie chart representing your areas of knowledge and gain entry into the Prep and Learning Path of ALEKS PPL. You can begin with any topics you are ready to learn. As you work your way through the modules, practice problems are provided to confirm your understanding of the core concepts and materials. Once you consistently get the correct answers, ALEKS PPL considers the topic "mastered" and you move on to choosing another topic. As you complete topic areas, ALEKS PPL continues to update your learning path.

  • Will there be any resources or support beyond ALEKS PPL?
    Yes! The College of Engineering, Computer Science, & Construction Management (ECC) has various summer programs and the Department of Mathematics & Statistics hosts the Summer Calculus Bootcamp.
  • 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 and major course.

    You will not be permitted to take a proctored assessment without completing the Learning Mode (three hours minimum) and only proctored assessment scores are considered official.

  • How long does an ALEKS PPL 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 depending on their responses.

  • What is covered on the ALEKS PPL assessment?

    ALEKS PPL 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 PPL refines its logic and algorithms to build future questions. You may come across topics that you have not seen before - that is ok! ALEKS PPL 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 PPL assessment?

    No! This is not a pass/fail or even an exam. ALEKS PPL 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 an accurate 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 2022 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 PPL modules, practice, practice, practice, and attempt another proctored assessment. Final scores will be accepted up to the week prior to the first day of the fall semester.

  • Can I use a calculator, textbook, notes or other study aides during the AELKS PPL assessment?
    No, ALEKS PPL 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 PPL is meant to help, so give an answer a try and take your time.
  • How much time do I have to complete the Initial Knowledge Check?

    Once you start the Initial Knowledge Check, 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 PPL?

    You have access to continue using ALEKS PPL 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
Jennifer McKee
Developmental Math Coordinator
Holt Hall, Room 101
(530) 898-3487
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