Questions about the Mathematics (ALEKS) Assessment / Placement Test

Expand allCollapse all

Who has to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

If you are a student starting at CU Boulder in the summer or fall of 2014, and you think you will take a math, science, social science or business course your first semester, you will need to take the ALEKS placement test.  It is highly recommended that you complete the placement prior to June 1st so you may be registered in appropriate courses.

In addition, it is a prerequisite for any student to have a minimum ALEKS assessment score in order to enroll in most math-focused courses up through Calculus 1 (APPM 1235, APPM 1340, APPM 1350, MATH 1071, MATH 1081, MATH 1150, MATH 1300, MATH 1310), Physics (Calculus-based) (PHYS 1110), Math Tools for Economics (ECON 1078, ECON 1088), and Business Statistics (BCOR 1020). Any student who wishes to enroll in any of these listed courses will need to take the ALEKS assessment and have earned a score that meets the minimum requirements for that course. 

All students will need to take the ALEKS assessment before they will be allowed to register into the courses listed below:

Course Course Title Minimum ALEKS Score
APPM 1235 Pre-Calculus for Engineers 61%
APPM 1340 Calculus 1 with Algebra, Part A 61%
APPM 1350 Calculus 1 for Engineers 76%
BCOR 1020 Business Statistics 61%
ECON 1078 Math Tools for Economists I 46%
ECON 1088 Math Tools for Economists II 61%
MATH 1071 Finite Math for Soc. Science and Business 46%
MATH 1081 Calculus for Social Science and Business 61%
MATH 1150 Precalculus Mathematics 61%
MATH 1300 Analytic Geometry/Calculus 1 76%
MATH 1310 Calculus, Stochastics and Modeling 76%
PHYS 1110 General Physics I (Calculus-based) 76%

How do I begin using ALEKS?

Please click on the following link: https://fedauth.colorado.edu/idp/Authn/UserPassword

Are there any options other than ALEKS that satisfy these prerequisites?

Yes, some college level courses at other institutions may meet these prerequisites and some departments may still require ALEKS regardless of AP/IB or transfer credit.  If you have questions about this, consult your academic advisor about your specific situation. Most students have at least one math course as a component of their general education requirements, and most will require completing the ALEKS assessment.

Who should I contact if I have a disability that prevents/impairs my taking the ALEKS placement assessment?

If you need disability accommodations, please contact Marshall Smith (303-492-9031) or marshall.smith@colorado.edu) and we will assist you in making appropriate arrangements.

Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

The University of Colorado Boulder pays for the use of ALEKS.

What if I did not earn the minimum score required for the course that I wanted?

You are encouraged to use the appropriate ALEKS Prep and Learning Module (an intelligent, online tutorial part of the ALEKS program) to review and learn. You may take another placement assessment to improve your placement after at least 48 hours has passed from your first placement test and you must work on the Prep and Learning Modules for at least 5 hours before the system will allow you to retake an ALEKS assessment. Access to additional assessments and the tutorial function is available until February of 2015.

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

No, you must achieve the minimum placement result to take each corresponding class.  We have observed that we have too many students enrolling in classes for which they are not yet mathematically prepared and thus have an unsuccessful experience (defined as dropping the class or earning a grade below C-). It is in your interest to choose a class for which you are prepared to succeed.

Can I retake the ALEKS placement assessment?

Yes, you may retake the ALEKS assessment 2 additional times. In total, including the initial assessment, you have 3 opportunities. Access to additional assessments as well as the tutorial function is available until February of 2015.

What if I don't have time right now to work on improving my score?

After the initial assessment you have until February of 2015 to access the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module as well as the opportunity to retake the assessment. You can utilize the preparation and learning components as much as you like during this time. However, to make each attempt at the placement assessment 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 and you must work on the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module for at least 5 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.

Are placement assessments timed?

Once you begin an ALEKS assessment you have one week to complete it. You do not need to complete the entire assessment in one sitting. You have the option to pause and return to the assessment as you wish during that week. After you've completed the first assessment you have until February of 2015 to access the Prep and Learning training modules if you'd like to try to improve your score. You may also retake the assessment twice during this time period.

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. We suggest you budget 2 hours to complete the process. There will be a maximum of 30 questions.

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. Expectations of academic integrity also apply to the ALEKS assessment. More information about the CU Honor Code may be found here: http://honorcode.colorado.edu/

What is my assessment result?

Your placement result is your percentage mastery on the best assessment. Course placement is based on the course-by-course chart available here.

How long is my assessment result valid?

Your ALEKS assessment will remain valid for three years.

Can I practice using ALEKS before I begin placement?

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

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

You have access to the Prep and Learning module until February of 2015.

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

No, access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with up to 3 placement assessments. This is paid for by the University of Colorado Boulder.

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.

Can I change to a different Prep and Learning Module later?

No, you may only use one Prep and Learning Module at a time. If you are unsure which module to select, use the module recommended by ALEKS.

What if I placed into the class I wanted?

Congratulations! You may continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your preparedness for the course. 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/assess_placement
Please email Dr. Marshall Smith (marshall.smith@colorado.edu) if you need help from CU that this FAQ page does not address.

What if I took the ALEKS exam before February 15th, 2014?

Please note ALEKS score guidelines correspond to when you completed the ALEKS assessment. The ALEKS PPL 2014 minimum scores were revised as of February 14, 2014 for the 2014 academic year. These apply to all students that completed the ALEKS assessment on or after February 14, 2014.  

If you completed the ALEKS assessment prior to February 14, 2014 you should refer to the column "ALEKS Assessment 2013 or 2012 Minimum Score" for the minimum scores required for particular courses.

Course Number Course Description ALEKS PPL 2014 Minimum Score ALEKS Assessment 2013 or 2012 Minimum Score

APPM 1235

Precalculus for Engineers

61% or greater

60% or greater

APPM 1340

Calculus 1 with Algebra (Part 1 of 2 in a mandatory year-long calculus sequence)

61% or greater

60% or greater

APPM 1350

Calculus 1 for Engineers

76% or greater

75% or greater

BCOR 1020

Business Statistics

61% or greater

60% or greater

ECON 1078

Math Tools for Economists I

46% or greater

35% or greater

ECON 1088

Math Tools for Economists II

61% or greater

75% or greater

MATH 1071

Finite Math for Social Science and Business

46% or greater

35% or greater

MATH 1081

Calculus for Social Sciences & Business

61% or greater

65 % or greater

MATH 1150

Precalculus Mathematics

61% or greater

60% or greater

MATH 1300

Analytic Geometry/Calculus 1

76% or greater

75% or greater

MATH 1310

Calculus, Stochastics & Modeling

76% or greater

75% or greater

PHYS 1110

General Physics 1 (Calculus-based)

76% or greater

75% or greater

Where can faculty or staff members find more information about the ALEKS assessment?

An overview of the changes to the ALEKS assessment for 2014 including a list of classes and score requirements as well as information on how to view ALEKS scores in ISIS is available here.

CU-Boulder Home CU-Boulder Search CU-Boulder A to Z Campus Map