Department of Mathematics and Philosophy

ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces) Math Placement

ALEKS is a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. The ALEKS test is an optional assessment to be completed BEFORE beginning your course of study. By scoring high enough, students will be placed in math courses higher than the beginning level courses. ALEKS PPL (Placement, Preparation and Learning) consists of three parts:

  1. Taking the initial assessment/placement exam
  2. Taking up to three re-takes (if necessary)
  3. Ongoing support with six months of personalized learning and remediation to help students succeed


Students will be given 30 days to complete the ALEKS Placement Test (including retakes) from the date the approval is given, and must be completed by August 14 - Fall semester, or January 8 - Spring semester.

Complete the ALEKS test, and retakes if you decide to use them, in a timely manner. The sooner you complete the ALEKS assessment test, the sooner your math placement can be set, and the sooner you can select your math course and register for it. Interested students should review the additional information below.

ALEKS - Macomb Campus

The ALEX placement test will also be administered face-to-face on the Macomb Campus during the first week of classes for new students who did not take it online and meet the deadlines. Unlike the online version, students will not be allowed to retake the test.

Please contact the Department of Mathematics for the date, time, and location of the test.

Office: Morgan Hall 476
Phone: (309) 298-1054

  • Reasons to Take the Placement Test


    The ALEKS Placement Test is optional, but here are five good reasons why it is a good idea to take it:

    1. Low Cost - Compared to the ACT, SAT, and other tests, the cost is low. Cost is $15.
    2. Save Time - By taking it you can skip one or more math courses. This allows you to move more quickly to math courses for your major or for general education.
    3. Save Money - If you can skip one or more math courses, then you do not have to pay the tuition.
    4. Opportunity to Learn - ALEKS is for Placement, Preparation, and Learning. It is more than just a placement test. It measures students' math readiness and repairs learning loss. Learning modules (tailored to the student’s needs, at no additional cost) are provided to help students learn and improve.
    5. Retake Tests - The ALEKS Placement Test can be taken a total of four times (at no additional cost). After doing the learning modules, students can retake the test up to 3 times.
  • Plan for Success


    Students should:

    • become familiar with the exam format and description
    • understand that the test typically takes two hours to complete for most users
    • expect a charge of $15 before they request approval to take the exam
    • after reading and becoming familiar with the information about the ALEKS Placement Test, go to the ALEKS Fee page to request approval.
  • Format & Description


    The math placement/assessment is an online test which covers a broad spectrum of topics from basic math through precalculus. The ALEKS system is fully automated and the assessment is adaptive.

    ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions and instead uses flexible and easy to use answer input tools that mimic what would be done with paper and pencil (free-response environment).

    When a student first logs on to ALEKS, a brief *tutorial shows how to use the following ALEKS answer input tools:

    1. how to enter answers
    2. how to use the graphing utilities
    3. how to use the built-in calculator that will be offered when appropriate.

    *Take your time with this tutorial and be sure you understand how these features work.


    Each assessment process consists of 20-30 questions and should take around two hours to complete. The exact number of questions will vary due to the adaptive mechanism. It will be 30 questions and only shorter if the student starts to consistently answer “I 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" (and is interpreted that the topic is not familiar to the student). If students think they might know how to solve a question, they should try and answer the question.

    The first questions will be drawn from across the curriculum. Based on the previous answer to a question, the next question ALEKS presents, has a 50/50 chance of being answered correctly. As the assessment proceeds, students' answers will be used to give the system information about the student's math knowledge, and it will gradually focus the questioning in an individually appropriate way.

  • Scores, Placement, & Retakes


    Upon completion of an assessment test, students will see:

    • A placement score as a percentage and a detailed score for each set of topics tested.
    • The corresponding WIU Math placement level and the cut-off scores for each placement category.
    • Recommendation for a Prep and Learning Module. We advise that students follow the recommendation:
      • The selected module contains a report in the form of a color-keyed pie chart. Each "slice" corresponds to a particular area (such as "decimals" or "fractions and proportions"), and may be opened to produce a list of the topics which the student can choose to work on.
    ALEKS Cut Scores

    ALEKS Score: 0-45
    WIU Math Placement: Category 1: Math 100, 110

    ALEKS Score: 46-49
    WIU Math Placement: Category 2: Math 101, 102, 106, 123, Stat 171 + Category 1 courses

    ALEKS Score: 50-60
    WIU Math Placement: Category 3: Math 113, 128 + Category 2 courses

    ALEKS Score: 61-75
    WIU Math Placement: Category 4: Math 129, 137, 260 + Category 3 courses

    ALEKS Score: 76-100
    WIU Math Placement: Category 5: Math 133 + Category 4 courses


    The student may take up to three retakes. There must be at least 48 hours between retakes.

    Minimum time required in a Prep and Learning Module:

    • Retake #1: 5 hours before taking the 2nd placement assessment
    • Retake #2: 5 additional hours before taking the 3rd placement assessment
    • Retake #3: 3 additional hours before taking the 4th placement assessment
  • Fees & Approval to take ALEKS


    There is a $15.00 fee for accessing the ALEKS PPL (Placement, Preparation and Learning) package (which includes assessment, three retakes, and six months access to the tutorials) which will be charged to your WIU Student Account.


    Generally, students need to either:

    • successfully completed Algebra II (intermediate algebra) with a grade of B or higher (both semesters) OR
    • successfully completed four years of high school math with a grade of C or higher in the senior year (both semesters).
    Request Approval to take ALEKS

    Complete the Improving Math Placement Form to request approval to take ALEKS.

    Once approval has been granted, you will receive an email and you may then proceed to take the ALEKS Assessment. Students will have 30 days to complete the assessment once approval is granted.

    Transfer Students

    Transfer students who have not had a math course at their previous institution, should consider taking the ALEKS Placement Test (to raise their placement above Math 100/110). Transfer students who are transferring in a math course to WIU are placed in the category of that course. (These students may also take the ALEKS test to further improve their math placement.)

  • Take the ALEKS Assessment

    Before You Start - Information on Taking the Assessment

    You will take the ALEKS online test at home, and you will need the following:

    • Your WIU ID number and password
    • Pencil and paper
    • A reliable internet connection (use a computer, not a phone)
    • 2-2.5 hours of uninterrupted time in a quiet place where you can do your best.
    • Download and review the Steps for Taking the ALEKS Placement test (pdf)
    Best Practices
    • Don't use a personal calculator. If one is needed to answer a question, ALEKS will provide one automatically for that question, which will also make entering the answer easier.
    • Don't use other resources such as textbooks, websites, or people (see Academic Honesty below)
    Academic Honesty

    Knowledge in math is built from the ground up, and new concepts require a certain background (prerequisites). The purpose of the assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical skills, so that we can place you where you will have the greatest likelihood for success.

    There is no benefit in inflating your abilities on the exam to advance your placement. Taking a class that is not appropriate for your current level of mathematical knowledge will most likely be plagued by frustration, hardship, and will end in disappointment. It could delay your graduation.

    Therefore, while you are taking the ALEKS assessment/placement, do not consult any other source for help (people, internet searches, textbooks, etc.), and do your honest best.

    In addition, as a WIU student, you are expected to uphold the WIU Principles and Policies, which includes the Student Academic Integrity Policy.

    Take ALEKS
    1. Continue to the ALEKS Login
    2. If you have been approved to take the test:
      • you will be redirected to the ALEKS webpage OR
      • you will be prompted to enter your WIU Ecom username and password.
    Technical Support

    Contact ALEKS Customer Service for assistance.