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Mathematics and Statistics Placement FAQs

 

What is ALEKS?

Who needs to take the Placement Test?

Can I access the Learning Module in ALEKS before taking the Placement Test?

How many times can I retake the Placement Test?

Can I have access to more than one Learning Module?

I have a physical or learning disability.  Can ALEKS be adjusted to fit my needs?

I'm a transfer student, post-baccalaureate student, or non-degree student.  Do I need to take the Placement Test?

Where can I take the Placement Test?

What are the system requirements for ALEKS?

How long is my Placement Test score valid?

I forgot my PSU computer account user name and/or password.  What should I do?

Does the Placement Test cost anything?

I have taken the prerequisite course, but am not sure if it's been "in the last year".  How is this determined?

After logging back into ALEKS, I'm receiving an error message stating that my account has expired and I need a new access code.  What should I do?

I received a score of 0% - 14% and did not place into any Mathematics and Statistics courses.  What should I do now?

I took the placement test and placed into STAT 241 or 243, but it's still listing "prerequisite error" when I try to register.  What should I do?

 

What is ALEKS?

ALEKS stands for Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces and is a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system.  It uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine what a student knows, doesn't know, and is ready to learn.  ALEKS avoids multiple choice questions, and instead uses input tools where you type or graph your answer.  At Portland State University, it's used for Mathematics and Statistics Placement and to help you prepare for courses through the use of Learning Modules.  Click here to take a 2-minute video tour of ALEKS.


Who needs to take the Placement Test?

Any student who wants to take any of the following Mathematics or Statistics courses at Portland State University who has not successfully completed (C- or above) the prerequisite course or higher within the last year.  See below:

Course

Prerequisite Course
  MTH 070: Elementary Algebra MTH 063 or MTH 065 at a community college or higher (MTH 070, 095, 105, 111, 112, 211, 251, 261, STAT 105, 243)
  MTH 095: Intermediate Algebra MTH 070 or higher (MTH 095, 105, 111, 112, 211, 251, 261, STAT 105, 243)
  MTH 105: Excursions in Mathematics MTH 095 or higher (MTH 105, 111, 112, 211, 251, 261, STAT 105, 243)
  MTH 111: Intro to College Mathematics I MTH 095 or higher (MTH 105, 111, 112, 211, 251, 261, STAT 105, 243)
  MTH 112: Intro to College Mathematics II MTH 111 or higher (MTH 112, 251, 261)
  MTH 211: Foundations of Elementary Math I MTH 095 or higher (MTH 105, 111, 112, 211, 251, 261, STAT 105, 243)
  MTH 251: Calculus I MTH 112 or higher (MTH 251, 261)
  STAT 105: Elementary Data Analysis MTH 095 or higher (MTH 105, 111, 112, 211, 251, 261, STAT 105, 243)
  STAT 241: Application of Statistics for Business MTH 095 or higher (MTH 105, 111, 112, 211, 251, 261, STAT 105, 243)
  STAT 243: Intro to Probability and Statistics I MTH 095 or higher (MTH 105, 111, 112, 211, 251, 261, STAT 105, 243)
  CH 221: General Chemistry MTH 111 or higher (MTH 112, 251, 261, CH 221)
  ECE 102: Engineering Computation MTH 111 or higher (MTH 112, 251, 261, ECE 102)
  ECE 103: Engineering Programming
MTH 112 or higher (MTH 251, 261, ECE 103)
  ECE 171: Digital Circuits

MTH 112 or higher (MTH 251, 261, ECE 171)

  PH 201: General Physics

MTH 112

 

Can I access the Learning Module in ALEKS before taking the Placement Test?

In order to use the Learning Module, ALEKS must first determine what you already know and what you're ready to learn, so the Placement Test must be taken before accessing the Learning Module.  After completing the Placement Test, you can begin accessing the Learning Module right away and up to 6 months after completing the test. 

How many times can I retake the Placement Test?

You can retake the assessment up to 4 times within six months after your initial assessment

Can I have access to more than one Learning Module?

No. After you have completed the initial placement, you will be given a selection of possible learning modules, including a recommended one.  Once you make your selection that is the only learning module you will have access to. 

 

I have a physical or learning disability.  Can ALEKS be adjusted to fit my needs?

Contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC), and they will work with the Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics and Statistics to determine the best way to adjust ALEKS to fit your needs.


I'm a transfer student, post-baccalaureate student, or non-degree student.  Do I need to take the Placement Test?

See the Advising Webpage here.


Where can I take the Placement Test?

You can take the Placement Test from a personal computer with internet access and the most recent version of Java.  If you do not have a personal computer, then you can complete the Placement Test at any computer lab at Portland State University.  You will not be able to use a public computer (such as at a public library) unless you can get administrator rights to allow the ALEKS plug-in.


What are the system requirements for ALEKS?

Click here for the system requirements for ALEKS.


How long is my Placement Test score valid?

It is critical that your score reflects your current mathematical knowledge, so all Placement Test scores (including retakes) will be valid for 1 year after completion.


I forgot my PSU computer account user name and/or password.  What should I do?

Contact the OIT Help Desk.


Does the Placement Test cost anything?

Portland State University pays all fees associated with the Mathematics and Statistics Placement Test, including your access to Learning Modules in ALEKS.  There is no charge to you.

 

I have taken the prerequisite course, but am not sure if it's been "in the last year".  How is this determined?

Mathematical knowledge can change drastically after one year.  Here's an example of the one year policy: if you took the prerequisite course or higher during winter term 2011, then you can enroll in the subsequent course for spring term 2012, but no terms thereafter, unless you place at the appropriate level on the Placement Test.


 

After logging back into ALEKS, I'm receiving an error message stating that my account has expired and I need a new access code.  What should I do?

Your account is valid for one year after initially accessing the ALEKS system, even if you didn't begin or complete an assessment.  You can regain access to your account by simply contacting ALEKS Support and providing them with your account code (this code begins with "SPDX" and displays at the top of the error message).


I received a score of 0% - 14% and did not place into any Mathematics and Statistics courses.  What should I do now?

There are a few options.  You can either:

  • Use the Learning Module in ALEKS to refresh on the skills necessary for MTH 070: Elementary Algebra or higher.  For many students, it's just been a while since using mathematics, and with a few weeks of refreshing and then retaking the placement test, students can oftentimes place into a Mathematics or Statistics course.  

I took the placement test and placed into STAT 241 or 243, but it's still listing "prerequisite error" when I try to register.  What should I do?

First, make sure you've waited at least three hours after taking the placement test before trying to register for your course.  If you're still having issues registering, see our Advising webpage here.