Frequently Asked Questions

Preparation

Why must I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

The Placement Assessment is used to determine the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest success. Upon completion of the Placement Assessment, your scores are sent to your academic advisor. Your advisor will review your scores and help make appropriate recommendations for course registration.

Who is required to take ALEKS?

  1. Any new full-time student (12 credit hours or more Fall & Spring semesters, 8 credit hours or more summer term) will need to take ALEKS, along with ACCUPLACER® reading and writing, as part of the admissions requirements.
  2. Students who have not already taken ALEKS and wish to enroll in a mathematics course at DMACC for the first time will be required to take the ALEKS mathematics placement assessment. Transfer students and current DMACC students, including Postsecondary Secondary Enrollment Open (PSEO) and Career Advantage students, who have earned a C- or higher in a pre-requisite math course within the previous 18 months from the date of enrollment will be exempt. Academic transcripts will be required to verify transfer credit/grade awarded. Students who only need MAT772 for their program of study are also exempt.
  3. New students are required to take ALEKS before attending orientation so you will be prepared to enroll in a mathematics class.

I took ALEKS at another institution, can I use this score at DMACC?

Transfer and guest students who have taken ALEKS PPL at another institution such as the University of Iowa, Iowa State University or University of Northern Iowa within 18 months, may submit their ALEKS scores to the Registrar's Office at DMACC. Students will be placed into courses based on DMACC's Placement scores.

When do I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

  1. New full-time students are required to take ALEKS as part of their admission assessment requirement.
  2. Admitted students to DMACC wishing to take a math class are required to take the ALEKS math placement assessment prior to attending orientation and/or meeting with an advisor to schedule classes. Taking the assessment early will allow you to complete the Prep and Learning Modules and take another assessment if you do not perform as well as you think you should.
  3. The institution paid ALEKS account is valid for 12 months. Students are encouraged to utilize the Prep and Learning Modules as much as possible for six months. Additional access can be purchased for $15.00 once the account expires.

Preparation Schedule

Semester Attending Dates
Fall 2018March 1, 2018—August 1, 2018
Spring 2018July 1, 2017—December 1, 2018
Summer 2018December 1, 2017—May 1, 2018

Is there a fee for using ALEKS PPL?

DMACC students will have one year of account access from when they take the first Placement Assessment. Once a student begins their Prep and Learning Module, they will have six months of access. If your account expires, you can re-subscribe for $15.00. Click here for re-subscription instructions. Course code: WX4HQ-UKL9V

Do I need to install any software or plug-ins prior to taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

No. There are no required plug-ins or applets required with your use of ALEKS PPL. As long as you have access to the internet and are using an updated browser, you should not experience any difficulties taking your placement assessment. For a list of preferred browsers, please review the ALEKS system requirements on the ALEKS support site.

All that you need is a pencil and paper to work out your answers and your DMACC ID number and six digit PIN. If you need help with your DMACC ID number of six digit PIN, contact DMACC Tech Support for assistance.

What topics are covered during the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

ALEKS 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. You will see some, but not all, of the math you learned in high school. It is a Placement Assessment, not a preview of math courses at DMACC. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After you take the first placement assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your 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).

What is the difference between ACCUPLACER and ALEKS?

ACCUPLACER reading and writing is part of the admission assessment for new full-time students. ALEKS math placement is required for college admission and/or program entry requirements and is designed to help determine which DMACC math course you are ready to begin.

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

ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math palette tools before your Placement Assessment begins. The tutorial shows you how to enter different types of answers, how to use the ALEKS calculator, and how to graph. If you aren't sure how to input an answer, or need help while you are taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment, select the Help button below the answer palette tools. Going to the tutorial during your Placement Assessment will NOT impact your Placement Assessment results.

What if I am a person with a disability and need an accommodation for the ALEKS assessment?

Any person with a disability who would like to request an accommodation for the ALEKS Placement Assessment should visit the DMACC Disability Services website or call the Disability Services Office at 515-964-6234.

 

Taking the Placement Assessment

How do I access the ALEKS Assessment?

Individuals will need a DMACC ID number and six-digit PIN to access ALEKS through the Web Info System. (Contact DMACC Tech Support for assistance)

What is the format of the questions on 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 you have scratch paper and pencil with you. Before the Assessment begins, complete the tutorial which shows you how to enter different types of answers, how to use the ALEKS calculator, and how to graph. If you need help while you are taking ALEKS, click on the "help" button at the top of the screen.

How long will an ALEKS placement assessment take to complete?

Placement assessments require approximately 60-90 minutes to complete, but the amount of time will vary by student.

What can I expect when I complete the ALEKS placement assessment?

Once you register with ALEKS PPL, the system will guide you through your next steps. First, you will complete a Survey. Its purpose is for DMACC to college information about you as a student. It does not impact your Placement Assessment.

Image of Get Started buttton

Next you will take a brief tutorial to show you how to use the tools you will encounter while using ALEKS.

Image of sample tutorial page

During the Placement Assessment, click the “?" in the tools palette if you need assistance on using the tools. It will not affect your results.

Image of question mark button in the ALEKS assessment 

 

Are the placement assessments timed?

No, you are free to complete the Placement Assessment at your own pace. The system will allow you to access your Placement Assessment for one week. If you need to exit the Placement Assessment for any reason, you will be able to log back in and pick up where you left off. Assessments that are started but not completed within one week will be deleted and will not count as an assessment attempt.

How many questions are on ALEKS?

There will be a maximum of 30 questions. The exact number of questions will vary due to the adaptive format. It is likely 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 to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in your 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 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.

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?

ALEKS provides 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 within ALEKS. You should not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources may lead to improper course placement and ultimately course failure. It is also a violation of DMACC's Student Conduct Policy.

 

Placement Result

What is my Placement Result?

Your placement result (overall score) is a number between 0 and 100. It represents the percentage of topics ALEKS has identified you have mastered.  

Your ALEKS score indicates which course you are ready to begin. If you have questions about which course is required for your program of study, consult with an Academic Advisor. See the Placement Score Table and check the math requirements for your program.

Where can I see my score?

You will receive your score immediately upon completion of your Placement Assessment. Your scores are automatically added into the DMACC student record system and are accessible by your advisor.

Sample of Placement Score
 

How long is my ALEKS Placement Assessment score valid?

The ALEKS assessment score is valid at DMACC for 18 months from the last completion date.

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

This is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Prep and Learning modules offered within ALEKS PPL. An individualized study plan will be created based on your performance on the initial placement assessment. ALEKS will identify what you know and what you are ready to learn next so you can brush-up on lost knowledge. The Prep and Learning module is available for six months from the date you begin.

Students can retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment up to four additional times to improve score and/or review for math class. (The highest score will be used to for math placement) Students are required to complete a specific amount of time on the Prep and Learning Modules prior to each assessment to increase success.

Workflow of Current Class Level, Prep and Learning to Desired Class Level. 

Prep and Learning Module Sample Message-A Prep and Learning Module has been selected for you based on your placement assessment 

 

What course did I place into?

The math course(s) for which you are eligible to enroll will depend upon your ALEKS score. See the Placement Score Table and check the math requirements for your program.

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 required is the minimum for your course. Take advantage of the individualized review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class.

How do I know if math is required for my program?

Review program descriptions and course requirements.

Do I have to take the course into which my ALEKS score places me?

You can register for a course at or below your ALEKS score. See your Program Information Brief for math requirements or an academic advisor.

Can I retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment?

Yes, you may take up to four Placement Assessments. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments so you can improve your skills.

Students are also required to complete a specific amount of time on the Prep and Learning Modules prior to each assessment to increase success.

  • 2nd attempt—required to complete 3 hours of Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • 3rd attempt—required to complete 3 additional hours of Prep and Learning Module before attempting assessment.
  • 4th attempt—required to complete 5 additional hours of Prep and Learning module before attempting assessment.
  • 5th attempt (final attempt permitted by DMACC)—required to complete 8 additional hours of Prep and Learning Module before attempting assessment.

 

Can I retake ALEKS immediately?

On the menu to the left, you will be able to access your learning path, or your next placement assessment.

Start my Path Button example 

There is generally no benefit to retaking the assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. Unlike the ACT or SAT, 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.

 

Prep and Learning Modules

What is the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module and how can it help me?

After completing your initial ALEKS Placement Assessment, you will have six-month access to Prep and Learning Module. Access to the prep course will not begin until you select start on top of the screen. DO NOT select into the Prep and Learning Module until you are ready to start working. If your account expires, you can re-subscribe for $15.00. Click here for re-subscription instructions.
Course code: WX4HQ-UKL9V

How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Modules?

You will have six months of access from the time that you start using your Prep and Learning Module. Access to the prep course will not begin until you select start on top of the screen. DO NOT select into the Prep and Learning Module until you are ready to start working.

If your account expires, you can re-subscribe for $15.00. Click here for re-subscription instructions.
Course code: WX4HQ-UKL9V

Is there an additional fee for my Prep and Learning Module?

Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional placement assessments. Once a student begins their Prep and Learning Module, they will have six months of access. If your account expires, you can re-subscribe for $15.00. Click here for re-subscription instructions.
Course code: WX4HQ-UKL9V

Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments?

You can retake the Placement Assessment up to four additional times to improve your score. (The highest score will be used for math placement) Students are required to work in the Prep and Learning Module to make each attempt worthwhile so you can improve your skills.

  • 2nd attempt—required to complete 3 hours of Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • 3rd attempt—required to complete 3 additional hours of Prep and Learning Module before attempting assessment.
  • 4th attempt—required to complete 5 additional hours of Prep and Learning module before attempting assessment.
  • 5th attempt—required to complete 8 additional hours of Prep and Learning Module before attempting assessment.

What are ALEKS Knowledge Checks?

While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete a Knowledge Check to make sure you have mastered the topics you gained in the Learning Module. If you do not show mastery during the Knowledge Check, the topics will be added back into your Learning Pie so you can review them again.

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. Select the placement tab in the upper right side of the ALEKS page to start a new Placement Assessment.

 

Technical Support

What do I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while I am taking the Placement Assessment?

Simply close the browser, or log out and log back in. ALEKS will resume the Placement Assessment exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers for up to one week from the date you begin.

Where I can get technical support for ALEKS?