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Guide to ALEKS PPL Math Placement with Cut Scores

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Maharishi International University requires an ALEKS mathematics placement assessment to determine readiness for various courses. The ALEKS Placement Assessment covers material from Basic Math (Math 051), Elementary Algebra (Math 152), Intermediate Algebra (Math 153), Functions and Graphs 1 (Math 161), and Functions and Graphs 2 (Math 162) and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. After the assessment, a targeted Prep and Learning Module is available for you to review and learn material, and to improve performance on future placement and eventual course outcomes.

Scroll down for a chart with cut scores, telling you where you placed after the test.


Advice for Taking the Placement Assessment

Relax — this is an “assessment,” not a “test.” The difference is that an assessment is designed to determine what you know. At the end of the ALEKS Placement Assessment, you will have a much better sense of your strengths and weaknesses in math. You will then have a chance to work on those weaknesses. There is really no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the assessment. The most important thing is that you take the assessment seriously and give it an honest effort so that the assessment truly reflects your level of knowledge and math preparedness.

Be honest about your skill level. There is no benefit to cheating on the placement assessment — your only reward will be that you are forced to take a class that is too difficult for your current level of mathematical knowledge. Therefore, while you are taking the assessment, do not consult any other source for help (friends, family, internet searches, etc.). The purpose of the placement assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical skills so that you will be successful in your mathematics courses.

Who Takes the Assessment?

All students entering the following programs must take the math placement assessment:

  • Mathematics Major or Minor
  • Computer Science Major or Minor
  • Second Bachelor’s degree in the BS in Computer Science
  • Major in Business
  • Minor in Physics
  • Major in Sustainable Regenerative Living but only if you don’t already satisfy the general education math requirement
  • Individualized Major but only if you don’t already satisfy the general education math requirement

Also, all students who wish to take any course with a math prerequisite, including the courses in this list:

Course you want to take:Prerequisite:
Math 152 Elementary AlgebraMath 051 Basic Math
Math 153 Intermediate AlgebraMath 152 Elementary Algebra
Math 161 Functions and Graphs 1Math 153 Intermediate Algebra
Math 162 Functions and Graphs 2Math 161 Functions and Graphs 1
Math 170 Math for Sustainable LivingMath 152 Elementary Algebra
Math 272 Discrete MathMath 162 Functions and Graphs 2
Math 281 Calculus 1Math 162 Functions and Graphs 2
CS 201 Procedural ProgrammingMath 162 Functions and Graphs 2
MGT 314 StatisticsMath 152 Elementary Algebra
MGT 424 Data Analysis for ManagersMath 152 Elementary Algebra
Phys 207 Intro to Classical MechanicsMath 162 Functions and Graphs 2
Phys 270 Astronomy and CosmologyMath 153 Intermediate Algebra

Choosing a Prep and Learning Module

You only get one Prep and Learning Module. You cannot change it once you start it. So be careful choosing it. ALEKS will suggest a module for you, based on your performance on the initial assessment, but if you are trying to get into a course that is more advanced than that, you will need to choose a more advanced module yourself. The following is a guide, but don’t get too far ahead of yourself:

If you are aiming to place out of this course :Sign up for this Prep and Learning Module:
Math 051 Basic Mathematics
Prep for Beginning Algebra
Math 152 Elementary Algebra
Prep for Intermediate Algebra
Math 153 Intermediate Algebra
Prep for College Algebra or Prep for Precalculus
Math 161 Functions & Graphs 1
Prep for Calculus
Math 162 Functions & Graphs 2
Prep for Calculus

If you intend to wait until starting to work on your Prep and Learning Module, don’t push the button until you are ready to start work, as the one-year use of the Module starts from when the start button is pushed.

Cut Scores for Determining Your Placement after an Assessment

Cut scoreRangeYou have placed out of:You are permitted to enroll in:
< 140 – 13Math 051 Basic Mathematics
Math 130 CCTS Quantitative Reasoning
Math 166 Geometry for the Artist
Math 200 Mathematics & Infinity
Phys 297 CCTS Philosophy of Science
MGT 203 Personal Finance
MGT 204 Intro to Data Science
≥ 1414 – 29Math 051 Basic MathematicsMath 152 Elementary Algebra
≥ 3030 – 45Math 152 Elementary AlgebraMath 153 Intermediate Algebra
Math 170 Math for Sustainable Living
MGT 314 Statistics for Business and the Environment
MGT 424 Data Analysis for Managers
≥ 4646 – 60Math 153 Intermediate AlgebraMath 161 Functions and Graphs 1
Phys 270 Astronomy and Cosmology
≥ 6161 – 75Math 161 Functions and Graphs 1Math 162 Functions and Graphs 2
≥ 7676 – 100Math 162 Functions and Graphs 2Math 267 Geometry
Math 272 Discrete Math
Math 281 Calculus 1
CS 201 Procedural Programming
Phys 207 Intro to Classical Mechanics


Before the Assessment

How do I begin using ALEKS for math placement?

Send an email to Connie Eyberg, Administrator, Department of Mathematics, at mathadmin@miu.edu to request a Course Code for ALEKS Mathematics Placement and instructions how to register. State your intended major, if you know it, and why you think you need to take the assessment.

Where can I get help with ALEKS?


Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

Use of ALEKS for the first time is included in your student fees. For prospective students who have applied to MIU, it is free. There may be an extra fee of about $15 if you need to use ALEKS after the initial one-year subscription has expired.

Is there an additional fee for my Prep and Learning Module?

Access to one Prep and Learning Module for one year is included. If, after that, you wish to continue on the same Prep and Learning Module or take a higher Prep and Learning Module, you will be required to pay an additional fee of about $15.

While Taking the Assessments

How do I insert my answers into ALEKS while taking an assessment?

ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial on how to insert your answers before your placement assessment begins.

Are ALEKS Placement Assessments proctored?

The first assessment is not proctored. You may take it anywhere from any computer connected to the Internet. It is for your information so that you know what level of mathematics you need to start with and can start working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module in preparation for the next proctored assessment. This first test is not accepted for official Math Placement at MIU since it is not proctored. All of the rest of the assessments you take must be proctored by us and will be accepted for official Math Placement at MIU.

Are placement assessments timed?

Yes. For the first, unproctored assessment, you have 48 hours to complete a placement assessment once it has begun. Entry into the MSD program has a 3-hour limit. For the second and subsequent proctored assessments at the MIU campus, you will have a maximum of 3 hours to complete the assessment.

How long will a placement assessment take to complete?

Placement assessments require approximately 90 minutes to complete, but the amount of time will vary by student. You will have a maximum of 3 hours. There will be a maximum of 30 questions.

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?

ALEKS will provide 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 placement assessment?

You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided by ALEKS. You may not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources may lead to improper placement and ultimately course failure.

What happens if I do not complete a placement assessment in the allotted time?

ALEKS will give you a placement result, but it may underestimate your true ability.

After the Assessment

What if I do not place into the course I wanted? Can I retake the assessment?

You can use a Prep and Learning Module to review and learn, and you may take another
placement assessment to improve your placement result: up to five attempts including the first unproctored assessment within one year of signing up. To make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module in between placement assessments so that you can improve your skills.

I did not place into the class I wanted. Can I take it anyway?

No, you must achieve the minimum placement result to take each corresponding class.

What if I placed into the class I wanted?

Congratulations! Continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your chances for success in your course. The placement result above is the minimum preparation required for your course! Take advantage of the targeted review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class.

How long is my placement result valid?

Your placement result is valid for 18 months. After that, you will need to repeat the assessment.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately?

You may take the second placement assessment immediately after the first, but only if absolutely necessary to meet a deadline. There is generally no benefit to re-taking the assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. Unlike the SAT or ACT, you cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten or to learn new material.

Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between placement assessments?

Yes, for at least 5 hours between the 2nd and 3rd, 3rd and 4th, and 4th and 5th placement assessments. You are not required to work with ALEKS PPL between the 1st and 2nd placement assessments, although it is highly recommended that you do so. In exceptional cases, this requirement can be overridden by the proctor.

What are ALEKS Progress Assessments?

While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete progress assessments to solidify your gains in knowledge. These are not the same as the placement assessments and are not proctored.

Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement?

No, you must complete a new, proctored placement assessment on the MIU campus (or online during Covid) to change your placement result. Click on the placement tab from within ALEKS if you want to take a placement assessment. But remember that all placement assessments after the first are proctored on the MIU campus. Only your results for a proctored placement assessment taken on the MIU campus (or online during Covid) will be used for course placement.



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