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Placement Information

Math Placement Assessment

Stevenson University requires an ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (ALEKS PPL) Assessment to determine readiness for mathematics courses. ALEKS PPL is a web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to map a student’s strengths and weaknesses. The Placement Assessment is up to 30 questions and generally takes 60-90 minutes to complete. After the Placement Assessment, an individualized Prep and Learning Module is available for students to refresh their knowledge on forgotten or specific topics. Students then have the opportunity to reassess and improve their placement.

ALEKS consists of three parts:

  • An Initial Placement Assessment
  • The Prep and Learning Module, an individualized, self-paced online review
  • Access to 4 additional Placement Assessments

What is the purpose of the placement assessment?

The Placement Assessment results will be used to determine the most appropriate math course for each student as they move forward with college coursework. This is a “Placement Assessment,” not a test. The difference is that a Placement Assessment is designed to determine what a student knows and areas in which he/she may need more practice. At the end of the ALEKS PPL Assessment, a student will have a much better sense of his/her strengths and weaknesses in math. The student then has a chance to brush up on topics that may have been forgotten or haven’t been practiced for some time.

Be honest. It is important that the Placement Assessment is taken seriously and each student gives it an honest effort so that the Placement Assessment truly reflects his/her current level of knowledge and math preparedness. There is no benefit to cheating on the Placement Assessment – the only result will be that a student enrolls in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing time and money. Therefore, while taking the Placement Assessment, students should not consult any outside sources for help (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes, etc...). The purpose of the Placement Assessment is to give an accurate measure of a student’s current mathematical knowledge state so that he/she will be successful in future mathematics courses. Integrity is one of Stevenson University’s core values; please click here to view Stevenson’s honor pledge.


Why must students take the ALEKS PPL Assessment? The Placement Assessment is used to determine the mathematics course in which students will have the greatest success. Upon completion of the Placement Assessment, students’ scores are sent to their success coach/academic advisor. The success coach/advisor will review the scores and help make appropriate recommendations for students’ course registration.

Who has to take the ALEKS PPL Assessment? All incoming freshmen are required to take the ALEKS PPL mathematics placement assessment. Under special circumstances, you may be exempt from taking the math placement assessment. If you meet any one of these indicated exemptions, you are not required to take the math placement assessment:

  • Taken a college credit-bearing mathematics course(s) equivalent or above Stevenson’s MATH 005 course and achieved a grade of “C” or better earned (send official transcript to SU’s Registrar for course approval).
  • Earned an Advanced Placement Program® (AP) score of 4 or 5 on one of the following exams before May 2019 (official scores from the College Board are required).
    • Statistics (exempts you unless you are in a program in the Fine School of the Sciences)
    • Calculus AB or BC (applies to all majors)
      • Note: If you are taking the AP exam in May 2019, then the scores will not arrive to us until early July and therefore, you are still required to take the mathematics placement assessment. Your course placements will be updated by the Registrar’s Office when AP scores come in, if necessary.
  • Stevenson University recognizes the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme and will grant credit for scores of 5 or higher in the “Higher Level” courses only. No credit is given for courses taken at the subsidiary level or for courses that duplicate others taken for Advanced Placement credit. For questions about IB credit, contact the Registrar’s Office.

When do students take the ALEKS PPL Assessment? Incoming students who have deposited by 5/1/19 will have access to the placement assessment beginning on 5/9/19. Students should complete their placement assessment by 6/1/19. Students who deposit after 5/1/19 will receive information regarding placement assessment after their deposit date. We strongly encourage students to take the placement assessment early, as students will have the opportunity to re-take the assessment to potentially place into a higher course (more information can be found in the Placement Results section).

Where can students take the Placement Assessment? Students can take the placement assessment at any location that meets the technology requirements. See next question for specific information about technology requirements. If students cannot meet the technology requirements, e-mail to arrange an on-campus assessment appointment.

Do students need to install any software or plug-ins prior to taking the ALEKS Placement Assessment? No. There are no required plug-ins or applets required with your use of ALEKS PPL. As long as the student has access to the internet and is using an updated browser, he/she should not experience difficulties in taking the Placement Assessment.  For a list of preferred browsers, please review the ALEKS system requirements on their support site:

Is there a fee for using ALEKS PPL? There is no fee for the placement assessment.

What topics are covered during the ALEKS PPL Assessment? ALEKS PPL is an online, 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. Students will see some, but not all, of the math they have learned in high school. It is a Placement Assessment, not a preview of math courses at Stevenson University. It is designed to identify if students are prepared for a particular course. After students take their first Placement Assessment, they will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve their placement, if they would like.

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

Taking the Placement Assessment

What is the format of the questions on ALEKS? ALEKS is not a multiple-choice Placement Assessment. It is open-response and requires students to work out solutions with a paper and pencil, then enter them into ALEKS. Students should be sure to have scratch paper with them.

May students use a calculator while using ALEKS? ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if students need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, students may not use a calculator.

May students use any other resources during a Placement Assessment? Students 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 outside resources will lead to improper placement and potentially course failure. It is a violation of the institution’s honor code to use external resources on the placement assessment.

Can students review a question after they have answered it? Because ALEKS is adaptive, once students submit an answer, they cannot change it. Students should be sure to carefully check their answers before submitting their response.

What if students see questions they don’t know? It is likely that students will be asked questions on material they have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer, I don't know. On any question that students have familiarity with, however, it is important students do their best. I don't know is interpreted by ALEKS PPL to mean that they do not know how to solve the topic, and this will be reflected in the Placement Assessment results. There is no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the Placement Assessment, it only helps ALEKS understand what students know and don’t know.

Are Placement Assessments timed? No, students are free to complete the Placement Assessment at their own pace. The system will allow students to access their Placement Assessment for 48 hours from the time they begin. If students need to exit the Placement Assessment for any reason, they will be able to log back in and pick up where they left off.

What happens if students do not complete a Placement Assessment in the allotted time? Students will be required to complete a new placement assessment if they do not complete the assessment in the allotted time.

What if students need accommodations not outlined above due to an eligible disability? Students should contact the Office of Disability Services at at least two business weeks in advance of their intended start time.

If students are ready to start the ALEKS PPL Assessment, how do they begin? Before beginning the placement assessment, students must activate their Single Sign On and agree to the Acceptable Use Policy. Students will receive an e-mail from Tech Connection with further instructions. Once students have created their account, they will be able to log in to Blackboard to access the Placement Assessment.

Placement Results

What are possible placement results? A placement result (overall score) is a number between 0 and 100. It represents the percentage of topics ALEKS has identified you have mastered.

Where can students see their placement?

  • Students will be contacted within 3-5 business days by a member of the Office of Student Success with their course placement and recommendations for further action (note: if you do not receive communication in this timeframe, please e-mail
  • Scores will be verified and uploaded to the student’s account by the Office of Student Success before his/her Mustang Day.
  • Students will be placed into one of the following courses based upon their assessment score:
Course # Course Name
MATH 005# Basic Math / Pre-Algebra
MATH 135, 136 or 137 with co-remediation Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning, Introduction to Statistics or College Algebra with co-remediation
MATH 135, 136 or 137  Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning, Introduction to Statistics or College Algebra
MATH 147  Precalculus
MATH 220 Calculus I

How long is the placement result valid? Placement results are valid until the conclusion of the add/drop period of the semester the student took his/her first math course. 

What if the student does not place into the course he/she wanted? This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the Prep and Learning Modules offered within ALEKS PPL. An individualized study plan will be created based on the student’s performance on the Initial Placement Assessment. ALEKS will identify what he/she knows and what the student is ready to learn next so individuals can brush up on lost knowledge. 

If students do not place into the class they want, can they take it anyway? No, students must achieve the minimum placement result to take each corresponding class.

Which math course is required for a student’s specific program? If students have questions regarding the math course(s) required or recommended for their major, they should contact their Student Success Coach or Advisor.  

What if students place into the class they wanted? Congratulations! Students can continue to use their Prep and Learning Module to improve their chances for success. The placement result required is the minimum preparation for their course. Students can take advantage of the individualized review and learning features in ALEKS PPL to get a better grade in their class.

Can students retake the ALEKS PPL Assessment? Yes, students may take up to 5 Placement Assessments. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that students spend time working in their ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments so that they can improve their skills. 

Can students retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately? No, students must wait 48 hours from completing their first placement attempt and they must log active practice in the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments (see next section). Students cannot improve their results by simply re-taking the Placement Assessment without spending time in the Prep and Learning Module.

Prep and Learning Modules

Prep and Learning Modules are provided to students to complete after the conclusion of the assessment to develop skills to increase course placement. The modules are different from the assessment, and therefore have different rules related to access and timeframe. 

Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement? No. Students must complete a new Placement Assessment to change their placement result. Students should select the placement tab in the upper right corner of the ALEKS page to start a new Placement Assessment.

How long do students have access to the Prep and Learning Module? Students will have six months of access to the Prep and Learning module. Access to the prep course will not begin until they select start on the top of their screen. Students should NOT select into the Prep and Learning Module until they are ready to start working. 

Is there an additional fee for the Prep and Learning Module? No.  Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with the additional Placement Assessments.

Must students work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between Placement Assessments? Students can retake the Placement assessment up to four additional times (5 total) to improve their score (the highest score will be used for math placement). Students are required to work in the Prep and Learning Modules for a specific amount of time prior to each Placement Assessment to increase success.

  • 2nd attempt—required to complete 5 hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • 3rd attempt—required to complete 3 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • 4th attempt—required to complete 3 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.
  • 5th attempt—required to complete 3 additional hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules before attempting assessment.

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

Can students change to a different Prep and Learning Module later? No, students may only use one Prep and Learning Module. Students will continue to have access to this module after each attempt.

Technical Support

What should students do if their web browser gets stuck or their computer crashes while taking the Placement Assessment? Students should simply close the browser, or log out and log back in. ALEKS will resume the Placement Assessment exactly where they left off, with no loss of their previous answers.

Where can students get help with ALEKS? Please see the following websites:

Accessing the Math Placement Assessment

In order to complete the math placement assessment you must first activate your Stevenson University Single Sign On (SSO). Your Single Sign On is your username and password to access all of Stevenson's technology resources. After submitting your enrollment deposit to the Admissions Office, you should receive an email from with instructions on activating your SSO.

Once you’ve activated your SSO, follow the below steps to complete the placement assessment.

**Note: you will need the class code (provided at Mustang Day) in order to register for the placement assessment. If you do not have your code, please e-mail prior to accessing the assessment.

  1. Go to the ALEKS PPL log-in screen (use link after honor pledge below)
  2. Log-in using your SSO information.
  3. Follow the instructions provided to access the assessment.
  4. Complete the assessment.

Review the following prior to beginning the assessment:

The Stevenson University Honor Pledge is a unifying statement across all disciplines and fields of study. The Pledge represents Stevenson’s culture of integrity, one of the University’s four core values, and serves as a consistent reminder for students that academic integrity is important throughout each semester, on each assignment/exam.

I pledge on my honor that I have neither given nor received unauthorized assistance on this assignment/exam.

To acknowledge the SU Honor Pledge and begin your assessment, click here

Reading Challenge Exam

What is the Reading Challenge Exam?

Students who have been placed into ENG 006: College Reading Lab (based on SAT or ACT scores) may challenge their placement by completing the Accuplacer® Next Generation reading test. This test gives students an additional attempt to demonstrate their reading comprehension skills and thereby place out of the ENG 006 course. 


Why should students challenge their placement? ENG-006 is a non-credit bearing course, which means that the credits completed will not count towards the total number of credits needed to graduate. While some students may benefit from the content covered in the course, others may find it less useful. Therefore, students who feel that their SAT and/or ACT scores are not representative of their reading comprehension abilities are encouraged to complete the challenge exam. 

When do students take the reading challenge exam? Students have two options to take the challenge exam. The first option is for students to take the exam on the morning of their scheduled Mustang Day. This option provides students with the opportunity to potentially test out of the ENG 006 course prior to registering for classes. The second option is for students to take the exam after their scheduled Mustang Day (see testing dates in next section). If students wish to pursue this option, they will register for ENG 006 on their scheduled Mustang Day and, if they test out of the class, can work with a Success Coach or representative of the Office of Student Success prior to the start of the semester to change their schedule. 

Where can students take the challenge exam? Unlike the math placement assessment, the reading challenge exam must be completed in a proctored setting. Students have the option to take the Reading Challenge Exam on the morning of their Mustang Day or later in the summer. If students would like to test after Mustang Days, there are three options.

Students can:

    1. Take the challenge exam on-campus on any Monday from 7/22 to 8/19 starting at 1 p.m. in the Howard S. Brown School of Business (see campus map here). No RSVP is necessary.
    2. Contact to arrange another time to take the test if they are unavailable on Mondays.
    3. Schedule a remote testing appointment to be completed at home through Examity (there is a $25 proctoring fee for remote proctoring).  Students who wish to take the test at home using Examity can contact for assistance.

Note: Students who wish to take the exam at home must meet the following technology requirements:

  • Desktop computer or laptop (tablets, Chromebooks and cell phones do not meet the requirements)
  • A working built-in or external webcam and microphone
  • Internet speed of at least 2 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload. Hot spots are not recommended. Test internet speed at:
  • Browser with pop-up blocker disabled

Taking the Challenge Exam

What is the format of the challenge exam? The challenge exam follows a multiple-choice format. Questions will be based on passages that cover a range of content areas. Both single and paired passages are included. Questions are computer-adaptive, which means that the questions provided will be customized to the student’s performance on each preceding question. 

Can students use any other resources during my challenge exam? Students may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided. Students should not receive any outside assistance. 

Can students review a question after they have answered it? Because the questions are computer-adaptive, once an answer is submitted, it cannot be changed.  

Is the challenge exam timed? No, students are encouraged to take their time while completing the challenge exam. 

What if students need accommodations not outlined above due to an eligible disability? Students should contact the Office of Disability Services at at least two business weeks in advance of the challenge exam. 

If students are ready to schedule their challenge exam, what should they do? Students who wish to complete the challenge exam should contact for further instructions. 

Placement Results

How does scoring work? The test score range is from 200 to 300. Students who score a 237 or above on the challenge exam are exempt from ENG 006. 

What should students expect after concluding the challenge exam? The results of the challenge exam will be discussed prior to registering for courses or when making any schedule changes. 

How long is the result valid? The challenge exam result is valid until the conclusion of the add/drop period of the semester students enroll in the ENG 006 course.

Can students retake the challenge exam? Students are allowed two (2) total attempts on the challenge exam. Students must wait at least 48 hours from completing the first challenge exam and are encouraged to complete active practice before their second attempt (click here to access online study tools). 


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