HomeFor Incoming Freshman StudentsALEKS PPL Assessment for Incoming FreshmenAbout the PPL Assessment

3.4. About the PPL Assessment

ALEKS is a powerful artificial-intelligence based online assessment tool that zeros in on the individual strengths and weaknesses of a student's mathematical knowledge. The University of Arizona Department of Mathematics is currently using the ALEKS PPL Assessment tool for placement into all of its entry-level courses. Incoming students access the assessment through their Next Steps Center. It is proctored through Examity, an online proctoring service. 


How long is the test? The test is about 30 questions. Questions must be answered in order. You cannot go forward or backward to view or change answers. The test usually takes 60-90 minutes. There is a 3 hour time limit. If time expires, your current score is recorded.


Possible Topics - The ALEKS PPL Assessment covers a broad spectrum of pre-calculus material from first year high school algebra through precalculus. The ALEKS system is fully automated and the ALEKS Assessment is adaptive.  ALEKS chooses each question on the basis of a student's answers to all the previous questions. Each student, and therefore each set of assessment questions, is unique. It is impossible to predict the questions that will be asked. The first questions asked will be drawn from across the curriculum, and may be too easy or too hard. As the assessment proceeds, your answers will be used to give the system an idea of your knowledge, and it will gradually focus the questioning in an individually appropriate way. By the end of the assessment you should find the questions generally challenging but reasonable for your individual level of knowledge. By the time the student has completed the assessment, ALEKS has developed a precise picture of her knowledge of the course, knowing which topics she has mastered and which topics she hasn't out of all of the possible topics. An overview of how ALEKS works is available.

How Do I Access the PPL Assessment? Access to the test is through your Next Steps Center. 


Materials Allowed - Pen or pencil, Scratch Paper, Calculator


The “I Don’t Know” Button - 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 make an attempt and provide an answer. "I don't know" is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that you have never seen the topic, and this will be reflected in your results. Try your best to solve any problems that you think you might be able to solve. It is better to answer incorrectly on a topic that you have seen before, than to use the "I don't know" button and then skip related topics. 


Score - See this article:  https://ua-math-dept.helpspot.com/placement/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=128


Fees - For incoming Freshman and International students, there is no charge for the first test taken through the Next Steps Center. This fee is already included in new student fees. For any retest attempts, there is a fee of $26 per test.  

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