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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator as warranted. Otherwise, you may not use a personal calculator.
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.
Knowledge and skills change over time. To get an accurate estimate of your readiness, scores should be current as of August 1, 2017.
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.
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.
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.