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Remedial Math Placement and ALEKS FAQs Summer 2009

Q: Can I improve my remedial math placement status using ALEKS only at my home?

No. To change your math placement status, you must (1) purchase the appropriate ALEKS course module and sign up using the Register for ALEKS on the left, (2) take an initial assessment ,and (3) spend a minimum of 25 hours of time practicing your skills and (4) pass the proctored ALEKS placement test in August at Sac State.

Q: When can I buy ALEKS and register ?

You can start any date after June 22. Do not wait too long. You must log in 25 hours to be eligible for the proctored assessment.

Q: What kind of material is covered on the placement test?

The placement test covers a broad spectrum of beginning and intermediate algebra, problem solving, and Geometry. The ALEKS system is fully automated and the ALEKS assessment is adaptive. 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. The length of the assessment runs from 20-35 questions. The exact number of questions will vary due to the adaptive mechanism just described. 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 the topic, and this will be reflected in the assessment results. If you do not do your best on the assessment, ALEKS will underestimate your knowledge.

Q: What if ALEKS asks me questions about material I have never seen?

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 the topic, and this will be reflected in the assessment results. If you do not do your best on the assessment, ALEKS will underestimate your knowledge.

Q: Is ALEKS only for developmental math students?

Yes. At Sac State you can test out of remedial math only, i.e. LS 7A, LS 10A, and LS 10X.

Q: How many times may I take an ALEKS assessment?

You will be periodically prompted by ALEKS to take progress assessments while you are working in your ALEKS course module. You may only take a proctored assessment on the Sac State campus in the last week in August. Exact dates and times are to be announced.

Q: Are ALEKS assessments and Course Modules free?

No. ALEKS is commercial software that is available to the public for a charge. You are responsible to purchase access to the recommended ALEKS course module. The cost of your final assessment is included in the cost of your ALEKS course module

Q: Why would I want to spend money to use ALEKS?

Developmental math courses (also called remedial math courses) do not count toward degree progress, but they do require text books and count toward university and financial aid unit caps. You can save a substantial amount of time and money by reducing the number of, or eliminating the need to take developmental math courses. The cost of an ALEKS course module is nominal when compared to the cost of taking developmental math courses once you are at Sac State.

Q: What percentage score is required to "pass" the ALEKS placement?

The ALEKS assessment will determine your mastery of ELM mathematics. You must master at least 70 percent on the proctored assessment.

Q: Why do I need to take a tutorial to use ALEKS?

The ALEKS tutorial is a brief, interactive training program that teaches you to use some of the basic ALEKS answer input tools, known collectively as the "Answer Editor." Although the Answer Editor is easy to use, the Tutorial will make sure you are proficient with it before using ALEKS.

Q: What is "My Pie", and how do I add topics to it?

Your pie illustrates your current level of knowledge in a subject. If you roll your mouse over a "slice" of your pie, you can choose from a list of topics shown in a pop-up window that appears next to the pie slice. Not every slice is available at a given time. As you progress through the material, you will be able to access new topics until you have mastered all of them.

You fill in your pie and achieve mastery in the subject matter by working in the Learning Mode on concepts and skills that the assessment has determined you are most "ready to learn." The goal is to fill in the pie completely.

Q: Why doesn't ALEKS allow me to study any topic I want to in the learning modules?

ALEKS guides you through the specific curriculum your instructor has chosen. After ALEKS assesses your current Knowledge State and your goal, it will determine which topics you are ready to learn next. Other topics may not be available to you yet because ALEKS has determined that you're not yet ready to learn them. ALEKS tries to ensure that you are only learning the topics for which you have demonstrated readiness.

Q: How can I get help if I am having trouble using ALEKS?

Information on how to contact ALEKS customer support is available at http://www.aleks.com/support

Q: How can I get help if I am having trouble with the mathematics or questions regarding the proctored assessment?

Information can be obtained by e-mailing Pam Fredenburg.