What is ALEKS PPL?

In response to COVID-19, VCU has temporarily waived proctored ALEKS PPL assessments. You are able to complete an un-proctored assessment to receive a Math Placement Score. The Respondus Lockdown Browser is required. You may disregard any references to proctored assessment until the situtation returns to normal. 

Virginia Commonwealth University is using ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment for students whose Math Placement Score has expired or for those that want to attempt to improve their Math Placement Score. ALEKS PPL is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The Placement Assessment is up to 30 questions and generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete. After the Placement Assessment, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available for students to refresh their knowledge on forgotten topics. Students then have the opportunity to reassess and improve their placement. We expect students that use ALEKS PPL conscientiously to improve their Math Placement Score by one course!

ALEKS consists of three parts:

You must complete a PROCTORED Math Placement Assessment to receive a new Math Placement Score. After completing the Initial Placement Assessment schedule an appointment with the Campus Learning Center to take the proctored assessment. This is the assessment used to determine your Math Placement Score.

Virginia Commonwealth University encourages each student to spend time in the Prep and Learning Module, even if the desired score is achieved, because time spent in ALEKS will ultimately lead to better preparation and improved grades.

What is the purpose of placement testing? The Placement Assessment results will be used to determine the highest level math (and statistics) course a student may initial take at VCU. The Placement Assessment does NOT give credit for a math course nor does it satisfy the Quantitative Literacy Requirement for graduation. If your major requires you to take a math class you will have to take a math class.

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, a student will have a much better sense of his/her strengths and weaknesses in math. Students then have a chance 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 is taken seriously and each student gives it an honest effort so that the Placement Assessment truly reflects their current level of knowledge and math preparedness. There is no benefit to cheating on the Placement Assessment – the only result will be that a student enrolls in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing time and money. Therefore, while taking the Placement Assessment, students should not consult any outside sources for help (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes etc.). The purpose of the Placement Assessment is to give an accurate measure of a student’s current mathematical knowledge state so that he/she will be successful in mathematics courses.

Summary of the steps involved:

  1. Register with ALEKS PPL.
  2. Complete the Initial Math Placement Assessment at home. If you are satisfied with your placement score, you are done. Your score will be uploaded to your student record and you may register for the math class you qualified for after 24-48 hours. This assessment is NOT used for your Math Placement Score.
  3. There is required study using the Prep and Learning Module prior to taking the second Math Placement Assessment.
  4. Schedule an appointment with the Campus Learning Center to complete a PROCTORED Math Placement Assessment. This is the assessment used to determine your Math Placement Score.
  5. If your Math Placement Score is still not where you want it to be, you have 3 additional Proctored Math Placement Assessments available. Please note there is required study time in the Prep and Learning Module prior to scheduling each of those assessments with the Campus Learning Center.