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Quick Facts About the ALEKS Curricular Supplement to Mathematics Courses

  • All students enrolled in the following classes are required to purchase the ALEKS module as part of the course materials:
    • Math 20 – Precalculus: Algebra and Trigonometry
    • Math 28 – Business Calculus
    • Math 50 – Calculus 1
  • By the end of the first week of class, September 1, 2017, all students are required to complete at least one assessment through the ALEKS system.
  • The purpose of the assessment is to provide you, the student, with information related to your readiness for the class in which you are enrolled. You will also get credit in your math class for taking the assessment.
  • By taking the assessment you will be provided with recommendations related to prior knowledge and readiness for the class in which you are enrolled.
  • The ALEKS system will recommend learning modules for you to complete, if you would like to improve your score and learn additional content that will help you be successful in your current math class.

Questions and Answers

What is ALEKS?

Drake University requires an ALEKS placement, preparation, and learning assessment to determine readiness for mathematics courses. ALEKS is a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics he or she is most ready to learn. As a student works through a topic, ALEKS periodically reassesses to ensure that topics learned are also retained.

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 topics. Students then have the opportunity to reassess and improve their score and recommended placement.

ALEKS consists of three parts:

  1. An initial placement assessment,
  2. The prep and learning module, an individualized, self-paced online review, and
  3. Access to 4 additional placement assessments.

Drake University encourages each student to spend time in the prep and learning module even if the desired score is achieved, because time spent in ALEKS will ultimately lead to better preparation and improved grades.

What will my score be used for?

First of all, RELAX. This is an “assessment,” NOT A TEST. The difference is that an assessment is designed to determine what you know and what you still need to learn. 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 through the prep and learning module included with the ALEKS program. 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. 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.

If I score at a level recommended for my class, do I need to complete learning modules?

Drake University encourages each student to spend time in the Prep and Learning Module even if the desired score is achieved, because time spent in ALEKS will ultimately lead to better preparation and improved grades. However, this is not required.

If I scored below the recommended threshold for my class, what should I do?

Please complete the appropriate ALEKS learning modules and retake the test. You can retake the test up to four times. If, after taking these steps, you are concerned that you are unprepared for the class in which you are enrolled, please contact your Dean’s Office representative for assistance:

May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?

ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator as warranted. Otherwise, you may not use a personal calculator.

What do I do if my browser crashes during the test or my computer freezes?

Simply close the browser, or logout and log back in. ALEKS will resume the Placement Assessment exactly where you left off, with no loss of your previous answers.

I used ALEKS in my high school courses. Can I use those scores?

Knowledge and skills change over time. To get an accurate estimate of your readiness, scores should be current as of August 1, 2017.

What are the timeframes for completing the learning modules?

Ideally, you would work on the modules before classes begin, but you can continue to do so throughout the semester. You will have access to the learning modules for 6 months from the time you begin working on them. Once the semester begins, a link to the hours and location of free tutoring in mathematics via the Math Lab will be posted here. Tutors can assist you with learning modules in addition to your mathematics courses.

What are the “Knowledge Checks” about in ALEKS?

While working in a prep and learning module, you will periodically complete a knowledge check to make sure you have mastered the topics you gained. If you do not show mastery during the knowledge check, the topics will be included in future learning modules, so you can review them again.

Which modules should I work on first?

ALEKS will present you with recommendations based on your assessment results. You can choose other areas to work on, but Drake recommends working on the recommended modules first.

How do I create my ALEKS account and take the assessment?

  1. Students will go to and click on the yellow box where it reads “New Student? SIGN UP NOW!”. You will need access to a credit or debit card, when creating your account.
  2. On the next screen, there is a box with the heading “USING ALEKS WITH A CLASS?”. You will enter the Course Code: KLPDK-9PLJE in this box. Do not use the link under “Using ALEKS On Your Own?” box.
  3. The next screen is to confirm your school name; it should read Drake University. Click on the continue button to advance.
  4. On the “Welcome to ALEKS!” page, you will choose “I have never used ALEKS before or I do not have an ALEKS login name”, and click continue.
  5. On the next screen where you will click on "Purchase your access". Enter your billing/personal information and click review order. You will then enter your payment information and purchase access to the ALEKS system for a $25 fee.
  6. Complete the Survey and the Tools Tutorial after you are registered. See the next section "I Have Created My ALEKS Account, Now What Do I Do?" for more information on how to proceed after you are done with the survey and tutorials.
  7. After completing the survey and tools tutorials you will come to a screen that says: "Up Next, Placement Assessment 1" and in smaller letters "Unproctored". Take the assessment.
  8. After completing the first assessment, you will be given access to prep and learning modules that you can do on your own at home for practice. You can then take your the assessment a second time, if you chose.
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