Math Placement Assessment

The Mathematics placement assessment will help you and your advisor determine the right Mathematics course for you.

The assessment will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. After the assessment, a targeted Prep and Learning Module is available for you to review and learn material, and to improve placement and eventual course outcomes.

All students are strongly encouraged to spend several hours using the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module. Even if you have achieved placement in your desired course, time spent in ALEKS will better prepare you for your upcoming course and ultimately lead to better grades.

First of all, RELAX. This is an “assessment,” NOT A TEST. The difference is that an assessment is designed to determine what you know. At the end of the ALEKS Placement Assessment, you will have a much better sense of your strengths and weaknesses in math. You will then have a chance to work on those weaknesses. There is really no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the assessment. The most important thing is that you take the assessment seriously and give it an honest effort so that the assessment truly reflects your level of knowledge and math preparedness.

Be honest about your skill level. There is no benefit to cheating on the placement assessment – your only reward will be that you are placed into a math class for which you do not yet have the skills to succeed. Therefore, while you are taking the assessment, do not consult any other source for help (friends, family, internet searches, etc.). The purpose of the placement assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical skills so that you will be successful in your mathematics courses.

FAQs

Who has to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Students in any of the following groups must take the ALEKS placement assessment:

You want to take a math course beyond the level of college algebra (MATH 0031) and you have not earned college credit for Calculus 1 (MATH 0220) or have not scored a 4 or 5 on the Math AB or Math BC Advanced Placement Exam.  This includes students with transfer credits for courses below Math 0220. 

You have college credit for Calculus 1 (Math 0220) or have scored a 4 or 5 on the Math AB or Math BC Advanced Placement Exam, but would like to repeat Calculus 1.

I took AP calculus in high school. Do I still need to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Policies vary from school to school. Check with the advising center for your school.

What topics are covered on the Placement Assessment?

The Placement Assessment covers only pre-calculus topics. Specifically

  • Whole numbers, fractions, and decimals
  • Percents, proportions, and geometry
  • Signed numbers, linear equations, and inequalities
  • Lines and systems of linear equations
  • Relations and functions
  • Integer exponents and factoring
  • Quadratic and polynomial functions
  • Rational expressions and functions
  • Radicals and rational exponents
  • Exponentials and logarithms
  • Trigonometry (students can earn 0 points here and still qualify for Math 0120)

Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

No.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Yes, you may take up to 3 placement assessments (an initial assessment plus up to two additional attempts) within six months of your first assessment. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module in between placement assessments so that you can improve your skills.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately?

You must wait 48 hours between placement assessments. There is generally no benefit to re-taking the assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. Unlike the SAT or ACT, you cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten or to learn new material.

Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between placement assessments?

Yes, after completing the assessment, you must spend a minimum of 5 hours in your Prep and Learning Module before repeating the assessment.

Are placement assessments timed?

Yes, you have 24 hours to complete a placement assessment once it has begun.

How long will a placement assessment take to complete?

Placement assessments require approximately 90 minutes to complete, but the amount of time will vary by student. There will be a maximum of 30 questions.

What happens if I do not complete the placement assessment in the allotted 24 hours?

You will have to restart the assessment.

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?

ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, you may not use a calculator.

May I use any other resources during a placement assessment?

You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided by ALEKS. You may not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources may lead to improper placement and ultimately course failure.

What is my placement result?

Your placement result will be a percentage score. A minimum placement score is required to enroll in any entry level Mathematics course above College Algebra (Math 0031), as shown below.

CourseMinimim Placement Score
Math 0120 - Business Calculus61
Math 0200 - Precalculus61
Math 0220 - Calculus 176
Math 0400 - Discrete Math61

I just completed the ALEKS assessment, but I cannot enroll in the course I placed into. What should I do?

Be patient! ALEKS scores are loaded into the student information system overnight. You will be able to enroll in your course tomorrow.

Can I practice using ALEKS before I begin placement?

ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial before your placement begins.

How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module and the placement assessment?

You will have six months of access from the time of your initial assessment.

Is there a way to repeat the placement assessment after my six months of access expires?

No.

Is there a fee for my Prep and Learning Module?

No.

What are ALEKS Progress Assessments?

While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete progress assessments to solidify your gains in knowledge.

Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement?

No, you must complete a new placement assessment to change your placement result. Click on the placement tab on the upper right of the page from within ALEKS. Only your placement assessment results will be used for course placement.

What if I do not place into the course I wanted?

You can use a Prep and Learning Module to review and learn, and you may take another placement assessment to improve your placement result. You may take the placement assessment up to five times. If you still do not achieve the required placement score for the course you want, you will have to take the prerequisite class at Pitt and earn a minimum grade of C in that class. Prerequisites are as follows.

CoursePrerequisite
Math 0120 - Business CalculusMath 0031
Math 0200 - PrecalculusMath 0031
Math 0220 - Calculus 1Math 0200
Math 0400 - Discrete MathematicsMath 0031

 

I did not place into the class I wanted. Can I take it anyway?

No. To take any of the entry level courses listed above, you must either achieve the required minimum placement score, or take the prerequisite course at Pitt.

Can I satisfy a prerequisite for an entry level mathematics course with transfer credit?

No. If you have transfer credit for a prerequisite course, you will still need to take the placement assessment and achieve the required minimum score before enrolling.

What if I placed into the class I wanted?

Congratulations! Continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your chances for success. The placement result above is the minimum preparation required for your course! Take advantage of the targeted review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class.

Where can I get help with ALEKS?

http://www.aleks.com/faqs/technical
http://support.aleks.com/

Can I use ALEKS with Linux?

Yes, but you will have to install the required plugin manually. Follow these instructions.

How do I begin using ALEKS?

  1. Log on the portal my.pitt.edu.
  2. Click the Academic Resources tab at the top of the page.
  3. Click the ALEKS link on the right side of the page.

Alternatively, you can use this passthrough link to the Academic Resources page.

How do I get my ALEKS placement score?

After you complete the assessment, you will be presented with a pie chart showing your areas of strength and weakness. Your overall assessment score appears at the top of the page. If you have taken the assessment more than once, scores on previous assessments are shown below the pie chart. In this case, your highest assessment score is used for placement purposes.

If you forget your assessment score, you can log in ALEKS again to review your scores.

Contact Us

The Dietrich School of
Arts and Sciences
301 Thackeray Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-624-8375
Fax: 412-624-8397
math@pitt.edu

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