All math courses have prerequisites that must be satisfied before a student may register for a math course. The prerequisite may be satisfied by either a satisfactory score on the math placement assessment or by successful completion of the prerequisite course.

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.

New first-year and transfer students must take the math placement assessment via ALEKS PPL before they register for Orientation prior to the start of their first semester of enrollment. Your math placement test score is valid for 1 year. Students who do not register for a math class within one year of receiving a math placement test score will need to retake the assessment to receive a new test score.

**Important**: There is a **two hour time limit** on un-proctored ALEKS assessments. If you exceed the two hour time limit, your assessment will be stopped and your score is discarded. It is as if you never took the assessment. There is no way to recover a score. You will need to retake the assessment and ensure you submit the assessment before the two hour time limit expires.

If you encounter problems with ALEKS PPL or have any questions please contact the Math Department.

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

**Important: You must complete the un-proctored assessment in the two hour time limit.** If you exceed the time limit, your assessment will end and will be discarded. No score is recorded. If that happens, you'll need to retake the assessment and finish before the two hour time limit.

**VCU requires all new incoming first-year students** to take a math placement test in order to determine which math class you should register for in your first semester of enrollment. There is no charge for new incoming first-year students to take the Math Placement Test. New first-year students will NOT be able to register for New Student Orientation without first taking the math placement assessment. This is true even if you know you will receive transfer/AP/IB credit for a math course.

**New transfer students** are required to take a math placement test **if** they have not completed a math course within three (3) years, or if their math transfer credit is not at least equivalent to MATH 141, Algebra with Applications (College Algebra). Virginia Commonwealth University is using ALEKS PPL to determine a student's math placement. There is no charge for incoming transfer students to take the math placement test.

Virginia Commonwealth University is using ALEKS PPL to determine a student’s 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 generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete approximately 30 questions. After completing the Math Placement Assessment, students receive their math placement score and it is uploaded to their student record.

**Important**: There is a two hour time limit on un-proctored ALEKS assessments. If you exceed the two hour time limit, you assessment will be stopped and **your score is discarded**. It is as if you never took the assessment. There is no way to recover a score. You will need to retake the assessment and ensure you submit the assessment before the two hour time limit expires.

If the student is satisfied with their Math Placement Score they are done.

If the student's score isn't where they expected it to be they are guided into an individualized Prep and Learning Module to refresh their knowledge on forgotten topics. Students then have the opportunity to reassess and improve their placement score. This process may be repeated up to a total of 4 times. We expect students that use ALEKS PPL conscientiously to improve their Math Placement Score by one course!

After completing your Math Placement Assessment write down your placement score. You will need your VCU Math Placement Test score when you register for Orientation.

Login to ALEKS PPL to start your math placement test.

The information below is for current (already enrolled or special non-degree seeking) students who need to take the Math Placement Assessment again.

Current students whose previous math placement score has expired, those who want to improve their math placement scores, or students who did not take the math placement assessment as part of the new student orientation process may take the ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment. There is a $25 registration fee for ALEKS PPL.

Virginia Commonwealth University is using ALEKS PPL to determine a student’s 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 generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete approximately 30 questions. After completing Math Placement Assessment, students receive their math placement score.

**Important**: There is a **two hour time limit** on un-proctored ALEKS assessments. If you exceed the two hour time limit, your assessment will be stopped and your score is discarded. It is as if you never took the assessment. There is no way to recover a score. You will need to retake the assessment and ensure you submit the assessment before the two hour time limit expires.

If the student is satisfied with their Math Placement Score they are done. Their score is uploaded to their student record within 24 - 48 hours and you will be able to register for the math class you qualified for.

If the student's score isn't where they expected it to be they are guided into an individualized Prep and Learning Module to refresh their knowledge on forgotten topics. Students then have the opportunity to reassess and improve their placement score. This process may be repeated up to a total of 4 times. We expect students that use ALEKS PPL conscientiously to improve their Math Placement Score by one course!

Please review all of the sections below and click on VCU Math Placement Test to create an account and log in to ALEKS PPL.

Be honest. There is no benefit to cheating on the Math Placement Assessment. You do NOT receive credit for a math class. It does NOT satisfy the Quantitative Literacy requirement for graduation. It does NOT waive or satisfy a required math class needed to graduate. – the only result will be that you enroll in a class that you are not ready for, potentially costing you time and money.

- Consider reviewing notes from your last math class, or brush up using LinkedIn Learning or other online resources prior to starting your Placement Assessment.
Find a space to take the test. Make sure it is quiet and distraction free. You have up to 2 hours to take your assessment, but most students will complete it in 60-90 minutes.

Get out some paper and pencil to work out your questions the old fashioned way.

Once logged in, use the tutorial to learn how to use the calculator and graphing tools prior to starting.

Don’t forget to check your work and answer as many questions as you can.

Don’t be surprised if you are asked questions on material you do not know. In these cases it is appropriate to answer “I don’t know.” However, if you are familiar with the topic it is better to do your best and try to submit an answer. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question, it only helps ALEKS better understand what you do and do not know.

Take advantage of an opportunity to get ahead in your first math or statistics class at VCU - or place into a higher class - by spending time in the Prep & Learning module.

**Why must I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?** The Placement Assessment is used to determine the mathematics course in which you will have the greatest likelihood of success. Upon completion of the Placement Assessment, your score will be uploaded to your student record within 24-48 hours. If needed, see your adviser to determine the appropriate math course you should register for.

**Who has to take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?** All students whose Math Placement Score has expired or those that want to attempt to improve their Math Placement Score.

**When do I take the ALEKS PPL Assessment?** If you are a new first time or transfer student you will have taken it prior to registering for New Student Orientation. Current students may take an Assessment at any time during the semester. Remember, all math courses have prerequisites. The prerequisite may be satisfied by taking the prerequisite course or by placement based on your Math Placement Score. There is usually a high demand prior to and during the Add/Drop period at the beginning of the semester. Please plan accordingly. There is one exception, students that want to take MATH 131 or a stretch section of MATH 141 do not have to take a Math Placement Assessment. Students wanting to take a stretch section of MATH 141 need to request an override.

**Are ALEKS PPL Assessments proctored?** In response to COVID-19, VCU has temporarily waived proctored assessments. Once the situation returns to normal, a proctored assessment will be required.

**Where can I take my Placement Assessment?** You may take a placement anywhere you have internet assessment with a suitable environment for taking an assessment free of distractions.

**Is there a fee for using ALEKS PPL?** Yes, there is a $25 registration fee for ALEKS before you begin. As of January 2020 the fee is $25.

**Do I need to install any software or plug-ins prior to taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment? ** Yes, you may need to install the ALEKS Lockdown Browser. You will need administration rights to install the Respondus Lockdown Browser. Otherwise, there are no additional plug-ins or applets required with your use of ALEKS PPL. 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, please review the ALEKS system requirements on their support site: http://www.aleks.com/support/system_requirements

**What topics are covered during the ALEKS PPL Assessment? **ALEKS PPL is an adaptive system that covers a broad spectrum of mathematics topics. The length of the Placement Assessment will vary, but can be up to 30 questions and a maximum of 2 hours. You may see some, but not all, of the math you have learned in high school. It is a Placement Assessment, not a preview of math courses at VCU. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After you take a Placement Assessment you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement in the Prep and Learning Modules.

Topics covered:

- 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).

**Can I practice using the ALEKS input tools before I begin the Placement Assessment? **ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math palette tools before your Placement Assessment begins. The tutorial shows you how to enter different types of answers, how to use the ALEKS calculator, and how to graph. If you aren’t sure how to input an answer, or need help while you are taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment, select the **Help** button below the answer pallet tools. Going to the tutorial during your Placement Assessment will NOT impact your Placement Assessment results.

VCU uses Single Sign On to register and log into ALEKS PPL. After clicking the link below to register with ALEKS PPL you will sign in with your VCU eID and password. You will use your VCU email address to log into ALEKS PPL.

To create an account in ALEKS PPL click on the following link:

You will be directed to VCUs Central Authorization System where you will log in using your VCU eID and password.

You'll need to accept the Terms of Agreement.

If you are a returning student who is retaking the math placement test after your placement score has expired, you will need to purchase an access code.

Click on one of the following buttons accordingly.

“I have never used ALEKS before or I do not have an ALEKS login name.” if you have not previously registered with ALEKS.

“I have an ALEKS login name.” if you have previously registered with ALEKS (for chemistry for example).

Click CONTINUE.

Click on “Purchase access online”.

Enter your VCU email address. You will use this to sign in. You will need to retype your VCU email address.

For Country: choose “United States”, For State: choose “VA”, For School choose “VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIV (Richmond)”.

Enter your Billing information.

Check the "I Accept" box, then click "Review Order."

Your registration with ALEKS PPL includes access to ONE Prep and Learning Module. You are automatically assigned to a Prep and Learning Module based on the results of your first placement assessment results. You are required to work in your Prep and Learning Module before you may take additional assessments.

**What is the format of the questions on ALEKS?** ALEKS is NOT a multiple-choice Placement Assessment. It is open-response and requires you to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, then enter them into ALEKS.

**May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?** ALEKS provides an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, you may not use a calculator.

**May I use any other resources during a Math Placement Assessment?** No, you may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within ALEKS. You should not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using other resources will lead to improper placement and potentially course failure. Using other resources while taking a Math Placement Assessment is a violation of the VCU's Honor System and Standards of Academic Conduct.

**Can I review a question after I’ve answered it?** No, because ALEKS is adaptive, once you submit an answer, you cannot change it. Be sure to carefully check your answer before submitting your response.

**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 that you have familiarity with, 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 Math Placement Assessment results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the Math Placement Assessment, it only helps ALEKS understand what you know and don’t know.

**Are Math Placement Assessments timed?** Yes, You will have 2 hours to complete a Math Placement Assessment once it has begun. You must complete the Math Placement Assessment in one setting.

**What happens if I do not complete an Un-Proctored Math Placement Assessment in the allotted time?** If you exceed the two hour time limit, your assessment will be stopped and **your score is discarded**. It is as if you never took the assessment. There is no way to recover a score. You will need to retake the assessment and ensure you submit the assessment before the two hour time limit expires.

**How soon may I take the next Math Placement Assessments?** There is a 24 hour “cooling off” period between assessments. Beginning with the second assessment, you will also need to spend time in the Prep and Learning Modules before you may take the next assessment.

**How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module?** You will have six months of access to your Prep and Learning module. Access to the prep course will not begin until you select start on the top of your screen. DO NOT select into the Prep and Learning Module until you are ready to start working.

**Is there an additional fee for my Prep and Learning Module?** No, access to one Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional Placement Assessments.

**Can I change to a different Prep and Learning Module later?** No, you may only use the Prep and Learning Module you were assigned after your initial assessment.

**Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments?** Yes, after completing the first assessment.

You have a total of 4 additional Placement Assessments after your Initial Placement Assessment to improve your score. (The highest score is used for Math Placement Score.) Beginning with the second assessment students are required to work in the Prep and Learning Modules for a specific amount of time prior to each new Placement Assessment to increase success based on the following:

2nd assessment—you are required to complete 5 hours of work in your Prep and Learning Modules before attempting the second assessment.

3rd assessment—you are required to complete 8 additional hours of work in your Prep and Learning Modules before attempting the third assessment.

4th assessment—you are required to complete 10 additional hours of work in your Prep and Learning Modules before attempting the fourth assessment.

5th assessment—you are required to complete 10 additional hours of work in your Prep and Learning Module before attempting the fifth and final assessment.

**What are ALEKS Knowledge Checks?** While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete a Knowledge Check to make sure you have mastered the topics you gained in Learning Mode. If you do not show mastery during the Knowledge Check, the topics will be added back into your Learning Pie so you can review them again.

**Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement?** No, you must complete a new proctored Placement Assessment to change your placement result.

ALEKS scores should be interpreted with the assistance of an academic advisor. The Math department has established the following cut scores for VCU courses. **Students should consult with their advisor to determine which course they should register for to avoid taking unnecessary courses.**

ALEKS Score | VCU Math Placement Equivalent Score | Course(s) you are eligible to enroll in - make selection in consultation with your academic advisor |
---|---|---|

0 - 45 | 001 | MATH 131 or Stretch MATH 141 |

46 - 60 | 141 | MATH 141, or STAT 208 (or lower) |

61 - 75 | 151 | MATH 151, STAT 210, or BUSN (formerly SCMA/MGMT) 171 (or lower) |

76 - 100 | 200 | MATH 200, MATH 211, CMSC 245/255, BUSN (formerly SCMA/MGMT) 212, or STAT 212 (or lower) |

Please Note:

The Mathematics Placement Test is a prerequisite for only the above introductory courses. All other mathematics, statistics and computer science courses require previous coursework.

The Mathematics Placement Test score indicates a student’s appropriate level of introductory course and does not earn a student credit for any course. It does not satisfy any requirement for graduation.

Math credits are awarded for the successful completion of VCU math courses, transfer credits, or satisfactory AP/IB test scores.

- Virginia Commonwealth University
- College of Humanities & Sciences
- Department of Mathematics & Applied Mathematics
- 1015 Floyd Avenue | Box 842014
- Richmond, VA 23284-2014

Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm - Phone: (804) 828-1301
- Email: math@vcu.edu
- Last Updated: 12/02/2020
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