ALEKS Math Placement Assessment

What is ALEKS PPL?

ALEKS PPL is an artificial-intelligence based assessment tool that zeros in on the strengths and weaknesses of a student's mathematical knowledge, reports its findings to the student, and then provides the student with a learning environment for improving this knowledge to an appropriate level for course placement.

The ALEKS math placement assessment ensures students' readiness for particular math courses at the University of Oregon. Since these courses are demanding, it is important for students to begin in the course most likely to lead to their success. Students will not be permitted to register for a math course unless they have demonstrated readiness.

If after taking the initial assessment a student is satisfied with their placement, they will be eligible to register for the appropriate course(s)

If after taking the initial assessment a student is not satisfied with their placement, they will be able to retake the assessment, but only after spending at least three hours working in the Prep and Learning module. A student will have the opportunity to retake the assessment up to four times (five total attempts). However, they must spend at least three hours in the Prep and Learning module between each attempt.

What topics are covered during the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

ALEKS PPL is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. The length of the placement assessment will vary, but can be up to 30 questions. Students can expect to see some, but not all, of the math they may have learned in high school. ALEKS is a placement assessment, not a preview of math courses at the University of Oregon. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After completing the initial placement assessment, students will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve their placement.

Topics covered:

  • Real numbers (including fractions, integers, and percentages)
  • Equations and inequalities (including linear equations, linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, and quadratic equations)
  • Linear and quadratic functions (including graphs and functions, linear functions, and parabolas)
  • Exponents and polynomials (including integer exponents, polynomial arithmetic, factoring, and polynomial equations)
  • Rational expressions (including rational equations and rational functions)
  • Radical expressions (including higher roots and rational exponents)
  • Exponentials and logarithms (including function compositions and inverse functions, properties of logarithms, and logarithmic equations)
  • Geometry and trigonometry (including perimeter, area, and volume, coordinate geometry, trigonometric functions, and identities and equations)

Can I practice using the ALEKS input tools before I begin the placement assessment?

ALEKS will begin with a tutorial to make sure students are comfortable with the math palette tools before the assessment begins. The tutorial demonstrates how to enter the different types of answers, how to use the ALEKS calculator, and how to graph. If during the assessment you are unsure how to input an answer or need help, select the Help button below the answer pallet tools to return to the tutorial. Going to the tutorial during the assessment will not impact the placement results.

Disability Accommodations

If a student requires additional accommodations such as the use of a screen reader, please contact the Accessible Education Center.

Get Ready

Students can take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment at home on a personal computer, laptop, or tablet. Make sure the computer has current system requirements. Students can also verify that their computer, laptop, or tablet is able to access and run ALEKS.

The ALEKS Math Placement Assessment is not a timed test. You can take as long as you need to answer the questions, so long as you complete the assessment within 24 hours. If for any reason you need to stop the assessment, you may return to it later. Your work will be saved, and you will be able to reenter the assessment where you left off. If you do not complete the assessment within 24 hours of starting, you will be required to start over from the beginning. Most students report taking 60–90 minutes to complete the assessment.

Because the math placement test is unsupervised, the university expects students to do their own work without the assistance of others or unauthorized aids. Students who learned English as a second language may use a dictionary to look up unfamiliar words or terms.

Use of a personal calculator is prohibited. ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if one is needed to complete a particular problem. Find a quiet place free of distractions, and make sure to have paper, pencils, or pens for scratch work.

New students must claim their Duck ID 24 hours prior to taking the assessment.

Take the Assessment

Before Beginning

This is a placement assessment, 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. At the end of the ALEKS PPL assessment, you will have a much better sense of your strengths and weaknesses in math. You then have a chance to use an individualized preparation and learning module to brush up on topics that may have been forgotten or haven't been practiced for some time.

Be honest.

It is important that the placement assessment be taken seriously, and that each student gives it an honest effort so that the result of the assessment truly reflects your current level of knowledge and math preparedness. While taking the assessment students should not consult any outside sources for help (friends and family, internet searches, textbooks, notes). There is no benefit to cheating on the math placement assessment—the only result will be that you enroll in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing time and money. The purpose of the math placement assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical knowledge so that you can be successful in math courses. All University of Oregon students are expected to follow the university's academic honesty and student conduct code.

Enter the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment

When entering the ALEKS math placement assessment you will see a screen which will ask you to enter your Duck ID and password. If after entering your Duck ID and password you are not able to access the exam, check that your password is correct. If necessary, you can reset your password. If you are a new student, make sure you have claimed your Duck ID.

ALEKS utilizes the Respondus Lock-down Browser during the administration of the assessment. Be aware that before you enter into the assessment, ALEKS will take you through the process of downloading and installing the lock-down browser on the computer you will be using. It is important that this computer has the necessary permissions that will permit you to download and install Respondus.

Take the Assessment

Understanding Your Score

You will receive your score immediately upon completion of the placement assessment. Your score can be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the same access link that you used to take the placement assessment.

In order to register for a math class, you must achieve the minimum placement result for each corresponding class. The table below explains how to understand your ALEKS PPL score.

Course * ALEKS Score

Your placement score indicates your math skills need review. Please work through the ALEKS learning modules and retake the assessment to improve your score.

≤ 29

MATH 101 Foundations of Algebra and Mathematical Modeling

30–45

MATH 105 University Mathematics I
MATH 106 University Mathematics II
MATH 107 University Mathematics III
MATH 111 College Algebra
MATH 211 Fundamentals of Elementary Mathematics I
MATH 243 Introduction to Methods of Probability and Statistics

46–60

MATH 112 Elementary Functions
MATH 241 Calculus for Business and Social Science I

61–75

MATH 231 Elements of Discrete Mathematics I
MATH 246 Calculus for the Biological Sciences I
MATH 251 Calculus I

76–100

Once you have finished the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment, your score will be automatically transmitted to the Office of the Registrar and uploaded to your student record. Once the score is uploaded, you will be eligible to register for math courses as indicated in the placement guide. You can check to see that your placement results have been uploaded by logging in to DuckWeb and selecting "View Placement Test Scores" from the Records and Registration section of the Student Menu.

If you are not satisfied with your placement, you can retake the assessment after studying the Prep and Leaning module.

* It is important for students with an interest in the following majors to understand that math will be required to earn a degree.

  • Accounting
  • Architecture
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry
  • Communication Disorders and Sciences
  • Computer and Information Science
  • Earth Sciences
  • Economics
  • Educational Foundations
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • General Science
  • General Social Science
  • Human Physiology
  • Marine Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Spatial Data and Technology

Improve Your Score

ALEKS Prep and Learning Module

Students who are not satisfied with their course placement have the opportunity to retake the assessment. In order to become eligible for a retake, students are required to spend a minimum of three hours in the ALEKS Prep and Learning modules. The Prep and Learning modules are an individualized, adaptive learning path that is created for each student based on how they performed on the assessment. Spending time working through the Prep and Learning module will allow a student to refresh and review topics that may have been forgotten. After spending the required time with the Prep and Learning module, a student will be enabled to retake the assessment. Students will have access to the Prep and Learning modules for up to six months.

When working with the Prep and Learning module, you can expect to periodically be presented with a knowledge check. The knowledge check will provide you with feedback on what you have remembered and what you need more help with. Topics you demonstrate mastery for will be removed from the Prep and Learning module. Those topics that remain as knowledge gaps will be added back to the Prep and Learning module. 

Students have up to four retakes available. Before a retake is enabled, a student must spend at least three hours working in the Prep and Learning module. Access to the Prep and Learning module is through the same link used for the math placement assessment. 

Access the Prep and Learning Module

Frequently Asked Questions

Who must take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

All new students are expected to take the ALEKS math placement assessment before they arrive for orientation. Taking the math placement assessment provides academic advisors with important information about a student's readiness for specific math courses and greatly aids with the planning of a student's academic schedule.

Continuing students will need to meet course prerequisites in order to register for a math course. This may require that the ALEKS math placement assessment be completed before they are eligible to register for a math course.

Is ALEKS a timed test? 

No. From the time a student enters into the math placement assessment they will have up to 24 hours to complete the assessment. During this time, students are able to answer the questions at their own pace. The assessment will consist of 25–30 questions.

What is the format of ALEKS?

ALEKS is not a multiple-choice placement assessment. It is open-response and requires you to work out solutions with paper and pencil, then enter them into ALEKS. Be sure to have plenty of scratch paper on hand when you take the assessment.

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?

No. You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within ALEKS. You should not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources will lead to improper placement and potentially course failure. It is a violation of the university's student conduct code to use resources that are not permitted.

Can I review a question after I've answered it?

Because ALEKS is adaptive, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. Be sure to carefully check your answer before submitting your response.

What if I see questions I do not recognize or don't know?

It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer, I don't know. On any question that you have familiarity with, however, it is important to do your best. I don't know is interpreted by ALEKS to mean you do not know how to solve the problem and this will be reflected in the placement assessment results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the placement assessment, it only helps ALEKS understand what you know and don't know.

Can I retake the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

Yes. Students are allowed to retake the math placement assessment up to four times. After each attempt, a student will be provided with an individualized study plan. Students are required to spend at least three hours working in the Prep and Learning module before they will be eligible for a retake.

Is it permitted to register for a math class above my placement?

No. Registration for a math class requires that students meet course prerequisites. Students will be blocked from registering for a math class unless they meet the prerequisite(s). 

Questions? Contact the Testing Center.