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Placement Assessment

NOTICE: You must read all of the information on this page and watch the two instructional videos below prior to starting ALEKS.  Failure to do so can result in an inaccurate placement result and hinder your ability to succeed academically at WMU.

Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) is a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a subject. ALEKS then provides access to free training modules on the topics they are ready to learn.

ALEKS is an "assessment," not a test. The purpose of the placement assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current skills so that you will be successful in your mathematics courses. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the assessment, so there is no benefit to cheating. Your only reward for cheating is being forced to take a class that is too difficult for your current level of mathematical knowledge. 

  • ALEKS Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces

At the end of the ALEKS assessment, you will have a much better sense of your strengths and weaknesses in math. You will then have a chance to build your skill set in the free Prep and Learning modules ALEKS will create for you. The most important thing is that you take the assessment seriously and do your best.

Video of ALEKS Placement Assessment - Part 1

 

 

  • ALEKS is an assessment, not a test.

Who needs to take ALEKS?

  • Under 27 ACT math subscore

  • Under 640 SAT math subscore

Students with an ACT Math subscore of less than 27 or SAT Math subscore of less than 640 must complete the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment prior to attending Orientation.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

    No. Western Michigan University will cover the cost of taking the assessment. Since your score is good for two years, waiting to take a math class is not recommended. Once the score expires you will need to re-take the assessment at your own expense.

  • Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

    Yes, you may take up to five placement assessments in the first year. However, in order to retake your assessment, you must spend at least five hours working in the ALEKS Prep and Learning modules between each attempt. These Prep and Learning modules are free and customized to your current skill set. On average, WMU students who work through the ALEKS modules and retake their assessment improve their placement by one whole class level – shortening their timeline to graduation and saving themselves thousands of dollars in the process.

  • Is the ALEKS Placement Assessments proctored?

    No. It is a timed, two-hour, virtually administered assessment that is scored by the ALEKS algorithm.

  • Is the placement assessment timed?

    Yes. You have two hours to complete a placement assessment once it has begun.

  • How long will the placement assessment take to complete?

    The placement assessment requires approximately 90 minutes to complete, but the amount of time will vary by student. There will be a maximum of 30 questions and the assessment will automatically end after two hours.

  • What happens if I do not complete the placement assessment in the allotted time?

    After two hours, the assessment will end regardless of where you are in the process. You will be given a placement result, but it may underestimate your true ability. Your next steps would be to work in the Prep and Learning modules, improve your skills and re-take the assessment at a later date.

  • May I use a calculator or any other resources while taking ALEKS?

    No, you are not allowed to use your own calculator or other outside resources. Do not use your phone, the internet, or ask others for help. For certain questions, ALEKS provides a calculator tool within the program. If the calculator icon has a line through it, it is because it is possible to answer the question without one. Otherwise, you are only allowed to use pencil and paper as an aide to work through problems. There is absolutely no benefit for you if you cheat. Be honest, do your best, and you will set yourself up for success.

  • What is my placement result?

    Your ALEKS score is not the number of questions you answered correctly, but the percentage of them. This percentage is used to match you with the math course that’s right for you. If you take the assessment more than once, your placement is determined by the highest assessment score. Course placements are listed at the bottom of this page.

  • How long is my placement result valid?

    Your placement result is valid for two (2) years.

  • Can I practice using ALEKS before I begin?

    ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial before your assessment begins, but there will not be an opportunity to practice questions or study before taking ALEKS for the first time. You should consider your first assessment attempt and working through your Prep and Learning modules as practice for taking ALEKS a second time. Although your first score could be used for your math course placement, you are welcome to take the assessment again if you are dissatisfied. Your new score will replace the original one each time you retake ALEKS. You may take the assessment up to five times in one year.

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

    You will have one year of access from the time that you start using your Prep and Learning module.

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

    No, you must complete a new assessment to change your placement result.

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

    No, ALEKS will automatically place you into the most appropriate module for your assessed skill level.

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

    You can work through your Prep and Learning Modules to review and learn, then take  your assessment again to improve placement results.

  • 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.

ALEKS Placement Scores

ALEKS provides a percentage-based score for placement exams. Please see the table below for required scores for course equivalencies.

Please note: Algebra II is the minimum placement required for students who wish to enter the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Either Math 1220 or Math 1700 is acceptable for all calculus-based programs in the College.

ALEKS score

WMU Math Placement

0 - 13%

MATH 1090 Pre-Algebra

14 - 29%

MATH 1100 Algebra I

30 - 60%

MATH 1110 Algebra II
MATH 1140 Essential Quant Reasoning
MATH 1160 Finite Math
MATH 1500 Number Concepts (Teachers)
STAT 1600 Discovery w/ Data
STAT 3660 Data Analysis/Biosciences

61 - 75%

MATH 1180 Pre-Calculus
MATH 2000 Calculus w/ Applications

76 - 100%

MATH 1220 or 1700 Calculus I

Video of ALEKS Placement Assessment - Part 2

ALEKS Assessment Instructions

  1. Login to GoWMU
  2. Select the "Student Home" tab at the top of the screen.
  3. Under My Self Service, click on the "ALL LINKS" drop down menu.
  4. You will be prompted to provide a code in order to access the assessment.
  5. The code is case sensitive and is all one word: FIVE69SUMMER
  6. When the ALEKS screen loads, click on the blue box and follow the directions.
  7. You will be asked to answer a few questions and complete the tools tutorial, then you can start the assessment!

ALEKS access code:

FIVE69SUMMER

case sensitive, no spaces