Colorado State University  Mathematical

Effective Mathematics Placement

By  Alison Ahlgren

Department of Mathematics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
Math Placement Coordinator through ALEKS

When  September 25, 2008
2:00 pm
Where  Engineering E204

The University of Illinois and the Department of Mathematics recently undertook a broad and massive implementation of ALEKS to test students for course placement readiness. ALEKS is used for advising and placement purposes, assessment, remediation, and as a core course component. The ALEKS implementation allows for better student placement, remediation, and retention, and has increased passing rates in mathematics courses through Calculus I. We are able to better place students, better educate students, and to save students, instructors, and advisers time — for students’ time is crucial.

ALEKS is a powerful artificial-intelligence based assessment tool that zeros in on the strengths and weaknesses of a student's mathematical knowledge, reports its findings to the student, and then if necessary provides the student with a learning environment for bringing this knowledge up to an appropriate level for course placement.

ALEKS is non-multiple choice and when a student first enters ALEKS a brief tutorial shows the student how to use the ALEKS input tools. The student then takes the ALEKS assessment. In approximately 45 minutes, ALEKS assesses the student’s current mathematical knowledge by asking roughly 30 questions. ALEKS chooses each question on the basis of the student’s answers to all the previous questions. Each set of assessment questions is unique. When the student has completed the assessment, ALEKS produces a precise report of the student’s mathematical knowledge.

Read more about the U of I Math Placement Exam through ALEKS at

Ken Klopfenstein

The Colloquium counts as Seminar Credit for Mathematics Students.