Overview

All incoming students who need to take Calculus I (Math 111 or Math 121) or Math 110 are required to complete the ALEKS Placement, Preparation, and Learning Assessment by August 2nd, 2024. This Assessment will be available in mid-June. You should plan to take it at the earliest time possible and when you can focus your efforts on performing your best. The earlier you take the initial assessment, the more time you will have to practice and improve your score.

  • Online Precalculus Review Courses

    Students can be placed into Math 121 or Math 111 by completing one of the Online Precalculus Review Course.  However, you are still required to take the ALEKS Assessment.  There are a limited number of NSF Scholarships covering the cost of the Online Precalculus Review Course.  For more details, click HERE.
  • Contact Us

    If you need assistance or have any questions regarding the Mathematics Placement Assessment, please send an email to Professor Vijay Sookdeo at sookdeo@cua.edu.

What is ALEKS PPL Assessment?

ALEKS PPL Assessment is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses.  It consists of an initial assessment and the ability to retake the assessment up to 4 additional times. Each assessment is NOT multiple-choice: it is open-response and requires you to work out solutions on paper before entering them into system.  The length of each assessment will vary, but it can be up to 30 questions. You will have 3 hours to complete an assessment but it is expected to take 60-90 minutes for most students to complete.

Accessing and Taking the ALEKS PPL Assessment

Log in to mathplacements.catholic.edu with your Cardinal Credentials.

Take a quick survey, walk through the tools tutorial, and start the Placement Assessment. After the initial assessment, you will be provided a baseline score and individualized preparation and learning modules.  Up to 4 additional attempts will be given for you to improve your placement score;  you must wait at least 48 hours between attempts and spend at least 5 hours working through the modules.  Permission is required for the final two attempts which may be proctored online.

    • Be prepared!  Choose a time when you can quietly dedicate 3 uninterrupted hours to complete an assessment.  Have ample scrap papers with you for solving the problems, and be aware that no calculators are allowed.
    • Be honest! It is important that you take each assessment seriously and give an honest effort so it accurately reflects your current level of knowledge and preparedness for mathematics.  While taking the Assessment, do not consult any outside sources for help, for instance, friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes, etc.  There is no benefit to cheating as this will only result in enrollment in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough.
    • After the initial assessment, you can take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment up to 4 additional times, but you must wait at least 48 hours between attempts AND Spend a minimum of 5 additional hours working on ALEKS modules. We will use the highest assessment score when placing you into a math course.
    • It is recommended that you do the initial assessment without reviewing any mathematical concepts or topics first.  This will provide an accurate baseline score of your mathematical knowledge, and better individualized preparation and learning modules.  
    • If you did not achieve your desired placement score after the initial assessment, in addition to completing the learning modules, you should strongly consider taking one of the Online Precalculus Review Courses.  Even if when have achieved your desired placement score, it is still recommended that you take one of the Online Precalculus Review Courses and continue to practice with the learning module in ALEKS (which will be available until mid-June 2025); doing so can only help improve and reinforce the knowledge and skills required for Calculus I. 

How is Placement Determined?

Your highest assessment score will be used to determine placement, which is summarized in the following table. 

Mathematics Placement
Score Group Placement
76 or higher Group 1 Placed into Math 121 or Math 111, but can take any precalculus course  (Math 108 or Math 109) or Math 110.
61 to 75 Group 2 Placed into Math 111, but can take any precalculus course (Math 108 or Math 109) or Math 110.
46 to 60 Group 3 Placed into any precalculus course (Math 108 or Math 109) or Math 110.
45 or lower No group placement No placement.  Contact your CACS advisor.

Only your group placement will be recorded in Cardinal Station, and this take 2-3 days on average, but can take up to one week.  If you have taken the assessment and your placement has not yet been recorded in Cardinal Station, please contact us (see above).

FAQs

  • Do I need to take the ALEKS PPL Assessment if I have received AP credits or transfer credits for Calculus I?

    No. The Assessment is not required for students who receive college credits for Calculus I, either through scoring 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus Exam, through dual enrollment, or by transfer credits.  However, if you are waiting for your AP scores to be released, you are encouraged to take the Assessment in the meantime.
  • What date do I need to completed the ALEKS PPL Assessment by?

    The ALEKS PPL Assessment will be available in mid-June. You should plan to take it at the earliest time possible and when you can focus your efforts on performing your best. The earlier you take the initial assessment, the more time you will have to practice and improve your score.

    Scores will be accepted until Friday, August 2nd, 2024.  If you are unable to complete the ALEKS PPL Assessment before this date, then please contact your CACS advisor. 
  • What topics are covered on the Assessment? 

    ALEKS PPL Assessment is an online, adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. You will see some, but not all, of the mathematics you have learned in high school. It is a Placement Assessment, not a preview of calculus. Topics covered include:

    1. Real numbers (including fractions, integers, and percentages),
    2. Equations and inequalities (including linear equations, linear inequalities, systems of linear equations, and quadratic equations) 
    3. 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, 
    4. Radical expressions (including higher roots and rational exponents), 
    5. Exponentials and logarithms (including function compositions and inverse functions, properties of logarithms, and logarithmic equations)
    6. Geometry and trigonometry (including perimeter, area, and volume, coordinate geometry, trigonometric functions, and identities and equations).

     

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  • What is the format of the questions on ALEKS, and how many questions should I expect?

    ALEKS is NOT multiple-choice: it is open-response and requires you to work out solutions on paper before entering them into system. Be sure to have scratch paper with you.

    The questions in ALEKS are generated based on your responses so that your strength and weakness could be accurately determined. Hence, the length of each assessment will vary, but it can be up to 30 questions.
  • How much time do I have to complete an assessment?

    You will have 3 hours to complete an assessment, but it is expected to take 60 to 90 minutes for most students to complete.
  • Do I need to complete an assessment in a single sitting?

    Yes.   Choose a time when you can quietly dedicate 3 uninterrupted hours to complete an assessment.
  • How many time can I retake the Assessment? Do I need permission to retake an assessment?

    After the initial assessment, you can retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment up to 4 additional times. After the first attempt, you must wait at least 48 hours between attempts AND Spend a minimum of 5 hours working on ALEKS modules. Only the highest assessment score will be used for placement.

    Your will need permission to retake the final 2 attempts.  Please contact your program advisor or CACS advisor. 

  • What do I do if my web browser gets stuck or my computer crashes while 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.
  • May I use a calculator during an assessment?

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