About the Placement Assessment

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  1. Who is required to take the ALEKS placement assessment?
    • Students majoring in accounting, biochemistry, biology, business, chemistry, computer science, data analytics, economics, engineering (dual degree), finance, international business, management, marketing, mathematics, mathematics education, physics, pre-dentistry, pre-medicine, pre-nursing, pre-pharmacy, or pre-veterinary are required to take the ALEKS placement assessment before they are placed into a math course for the fall semester.
    • Students can take the assessment as early as March 1st 
    • The deadline for the initial placement assessment May 13th
    • Students have until August 1st to demonstrate readiness for their first in-major math course
  2. What is the purpose of math placement assessments?
    • The ALEKS placement assessment is one component of the ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning system. The assessment quickly and effectively evaluates your mastery of math concepts and helps us determine the right math course to begin your math studies at Berry College.  Though the placement assessment is important, there is more to ALEKS than that.  See the “Prep and Learning Modules” section of this FAQ for details about the individualized learning path ALEKS creates based on your assessment.
  3. Where can I access the placement assessment?
    • You can log into ALEKS through the Enrollment Forms page on the Admissions tab in VikingWeb or by visiting berry.edu/mathprep. Regardless of where you access ALEKS, you will use your Viking Web credentials to log in.  From there, you will be asked to take a one-minute survey, receive a brief tutorial on using ALEKS, and then you will be able to begin your placement assessment.
  4. How does the ALEKS placement assessment work?
    • The ALEKS placement assessment is an adaptive, online assessment. Based on your answers to up to thirty questions, ALEKS generates a score between 0 and 100 (see question five for details on what your score means). You may take the placement assessment up to three times over your twelve-month access period, so take time to work through your Prep and Learning modules between attempts. You must spend at least three hours working in ALEKS Prep and Learning and wait at least 48 hours between attempts.  Based on your best score, Berry College staffers will enroll you in the math course that best meets your needs and the requirements of your major.
  5. What does my score mean?
    • The ALEKS placement assessment will compute your score on a scale of 0 to 100, representing the percentage of topics within ALEKS for which you have demonstrated mastery. At the end of the assessment, you’ll see you score represented as a “pie”, with each slice representing a set of related skills and ideas.  At Berry College, we use your best score to help determine which math classes are right for you. View the minimum ALEKS score required for  math courses at Berry College.
  6. What if I do not earn the score I need to be placed into the math class I want to take and/or is required for my major?
    • The ALEKS Placement, Prep and Learning system provides much more than a placement assessment. The initial placement assessment is just your starting point. 
      • If you are happy with where your ALEKS score places you within our math coursework, congratulations! There is no need to take the assessment again, though you are welcome—and encouraged—to make use of your customized Prep and Learning Modules to be ready for your math course.
      • If your initial score did not place you in the math class you want or is required for your major, you have many options.
        1. First, we encourage you to work through the Prep and Learning modules customized for you within ALEKS based on your initial placement assessment score. Working through these modules for even a few hours can help you master additional concepts so you can earn a higher result on any additional assessment attempts. 
        2. Second, you can elect to enroll in a math workshop in the fall semester. These will utilize ALEKS Prep and Learning modules within a classroom environment, giving you the advantage of using the content ALEKS customized for you as well as the support of an instructor.  To be enrolled in a math workshop for fall, email Anna Sharpe, Associate Dean for Student Success, at asharpe@berry.edu
        3. Third, you can take the course in which you have been placed by your initial ALEKS placement assessment. While the class may not be one of the required math courses for your major, it can provide a solid foundation on which to build.  To enroll in the math class indicated by your ALEKS placement assessment result, you can speak with your academic advisor at your SOAR advising session.
  1. When should I take the placement assessment?
    • You can take the assessment as early as March 1st. All first-year students in the majors listed above should have taken at least the initial placement assessment by May 13th to be placed in a math course for the fall semester. While May 10th is the deadline, you should plan to take the initial placement assessment as early as possible.  Taking the initial placement assessment early allows you to spend time in ALEKS Prep and Learning in April and early May and retake your placement assessment up to two additional times should you want to be placed into a more advanced math course than the one into which you placed initially.  Achieving the required placement assessment result for your first in-major math course by May 13th will give you priority registration in math courses available in the fall semester.  Alternately—or in addition to this—you can spend time in ALEKS Prep and Learning throughout the summer and retake your placement assessment by August 1st.  In this case, you may be placed in a math course in fall or spring semester, based on the availability of courses. 
  2. How long is the assessment?
    • You can move through the assessment at your own pace for up to 2.5 hours. Most students complete the assessment in sixty to ninety minutes. The assessment will consist of a maximum of thirty questions.
  3. Can I use a calculator?
    • ALEKS provides an on-screen calculator for problems in which a calculator is helpful and does not impact the accuracy of the assessment. Otherwise, you should not use a calculator.  Doing so will result in inaccurate placement in math courses. 
  4. What topics does the exam cover?  
    • 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).
  5. Is there a fee for the ALEKS placement assessment or Prep and Learning modules?
    • Berry College is excited to cover the cost of access to ALEKS Placement, Prep and Learning for twelve months at no additional cost to students or families. Students may purchase an extension if additional preparation is needed after the Berry-provided twelve month access period. 
  6. Is the exam proctored?
    • No, the ALEKS placement assessments are not proctored. However, students should not access outside resources during the exam.  Doing so may result in an inaccurate math course placement and would be a violation of Berry College’s academic integrity policies. 
  7. Can I take the placement assessment on my phone?
    • You should plan to take your ALEKS placement assessment(s) in a quiet area where you can work largely uninterrupted and have access to paper and a writing utensil. Additionally, the ALEKS tools for graphing and other functions work best on a desktop or laptop computer.   
  8. How many times can I take the ALEKS placement assessment?
    • You are given three attempts with a minimum 48-hour wait and three active hours in ALEKS between each attempt. If your initial ALEKS score places you into a math course other than the one you desire, you will have twelve months to work through the Prep and Learning modules and improve your score on future ALEKS placement assessments. We greatly encourage you to work through your Learning Path in the Prep and Learning modules between attempts.
  9. I have a difference or disability. Is ALEKS accessible and do they offer accommodations?
    • ALEKS is a very accessible product, including for those with hearing and vision impairments. You can activate Accessibility Mode from the ALEKS platform, where you can also find a screen reader.  Should you need accommodations not provided through ALEKS, contact Berry College’s Academic Success Center at 706-233-4080 and we will be eager to support you.
  10. What is the latest I can retake the placement assessment and enroll in a more advanced math course?
    • August 1st is the final date students may retake ALEKS placement assessments for the purpose of being placed in more advanced math coursework in the fall semester. Students are welcome to continue work in ALEKS for the duration of their twelve-month window and can choose to wait to begin their math coursework in spring semester.  If you are concerned about your math placement or path toward your degree, reach out to your advisor.  He or she will be a great resource as you navigate your options.
  11. I forgot to take the ALEKS placement assessment or otherwise missed the deadline. Now what?
    • If you do not take the ALEKS placement assessment by May 13th, you will not be placed in a math course in advance of your SOAR session. This is not ideal, as the availability of seats in math courses becomes more limited after this date.  However, over the summer, you should still take the ALEKS placement assessment and work through any Prep and Learning modules needed to achieve the score you desire.  You will still need the appropriate ALEKS placement assessment score to be placed into a math course either during drop/add in August.
  12. What do I do if my browser crashes or my computer freezes while I’m taking the placement assessment?
    • If your placement assessment is frozen or shuts down for any reason, close the browser and log out if needed, then log back into ALEKS. The placement assessment will resume exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers. 
  13. Do I need to install and software or programs prior to taking the placement assessment?
    • No, there are no plug-ins or applets required with ALEKS. As long as you have access to the internet and are using an updated browser, you should not experience difficulties in taking your placement assessment.  For a list of preferred browsers, visit the ALEKS support site:  http://www.aleks.com/support/system_requirements
  14. What is the format of the questions on the placement assessment?
    • The questions are open-response, requiring you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil then enter them into ALEKS. It is also important to note that once you have answered a question, you cannot return to it to change your answer.  There will be a brief tutoring at the beginning of your placement assessment that covers these and other details.
  15. What if I do not plan to take a math class my first year?
    • Even if you would prefer not to take a math course your first year, you should still take the ALEKS placement assessment. 
  16. What if I see questions I don’t know?
    • It is likely that 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 with which you have familiarity, however, it is important to do your best.  “I don’t know” is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you do not know how to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in the results of your placement assessment.  There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the placement assessment; it only helps ALEKS understand what you know and what you don’t yet know.
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