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. You can expect to see some, but not all, of the math you learned in high school. ALEKS is a placement assessment, not a preview of math courses at Howard Community College. It is designed to identify if you are prepared for a particular course. After completing the initial placement assessment, you will have the opportunity to review and master additional topics to reassess and improve your placement.
- 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 I practice using the ALEKS input tools before I begin the placement assessment?
ALEKS will begin with a tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math tools before the assessment begins. The tutorial demonstrates how to: enter the different types of answers, use the on-screen calculator, and graph. If, during the assessment, you are unsure how to input an answer or need help, select the Help button below the answer pallet tools to return to the tutorial. Using the tutorial during the assessment will not impact your placement results.
If you require additional accommodations, such as the use of a screen reader, please contact Disability Support Services.
You can take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment at home on a personal computer, laptop, or tablet. Prior to testing, you can verify that your device is supported using the following link: ALEKS - Check Your System Setup. The only materials allowed during the assessment are scratch paper and pencils. No books, notes, or other resources should be used. There is no benefit to cheating on the math placement assessment – you may enroll in a class that is either too difficult or not sufficiently challenging, potentially costing you time and money.
The ALEKS Math Placement Assessment is a timed 3.5-hour exam. If the exam is disrupted due to technical issues, your work will be saved, and you will be able to reenter the assessment where you left off.
Use of a personal calculator is prohibited. ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if one is needed to complete a particular problem. Find a quiet place free of distractions, and make sure to have paper, pencils, or pens for scratch work.
Take the Assessment
New Students must set up their Howard Community College (HCC) username and password at HCC password services webpage before they can sign in to ALEKS PPL.
Once you have your HCC credentials, follow the link provided by your advisor and sign in using your HCC username and password. If after entering your username and password you are not able to access the exam, check that your password is correct. If necessary, you can reset your password.
Download and reference the student factsheet to help you navigate through your ALEKS PPL experience.
Once you sign into ALEKS PPL, you will first take an unproctored assessment and continue to an individualized Prep and Learning Module. It is highly recommended that you spend at least five hours in the Prep and Learning Module to prepare for your official, proctored assessment. When you feel you are sufficiently prepared, you should take your first proctored assessment.
You will have to wait at least 24 hours between assessments and will need a password for official, proctored assessments. When prompted for a proctor password in the box labeled “Proctor Password Required,” enter HCC2020.
If you are not satisfied with your placement, you can retake the assessment – all students are eligible for two proctored assessments (unproctored assessments do not count towards placement, but it is highly recommended to try your best to better prepare you for the official, proctored assessments).
If you originally tested at the Test Center and already have an ALEKS PPL account, you can retest at home. Students should sign in at ALEKS PPL using the username and password created at the Test Center. It is highly recommended that you spend at least three hours in the Prep and Learning Module to prepare for your second and final proctored attempt.
Understanding Your Score
You will receive your score immediately upon completion of the placement assessment. These scores can be viewed by re-entering ALEKS using the access link from your advisor (for students who signed up at home) or through the ALEKS PPL website (for students who originally tested at the Test Center).
In order to register for a math class, a student must achieve the minimum placement result for the corresponding class. The table below explains how to understand your ALEKS score. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact an advisor for clarification.
ALEKS PPL Placement Score Range
|Course ID||Course Name||Placement Score Range|
|YD-707||Math Review 1||0-1|
|YD-807||Math Review 2||2-3|
|MATH-061*||Basic Math & Geometry||4-21|
|MATH-132**||Topics for Math Literacy||30-45|
|MATH-127||Concepts of Math Literacy||46-60|
|MATH-128||Concepts of Math II||46-60|
|MATH-155||Pre-Calculus I & II||61-65|
* Reading placement of ENGL-083/090 or higher required. ** Reading placement of ENGL-121 required.