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Mathematics

ALEKS prereq for Math 1550 & 1551

ALEKS PPL Calculus Readiness Assessment

ALEKS = Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces.
PPL = Placement, Preparation and Learning.

The ALEKS PPL Calculus Readiness Assessment (hereinafter referred to simply as “ALEKS Math PPL”) is an assessment of readiness for calculus, testing skills in numeric manipulations, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. It is an adaptive test: later test questions are selected based on responses to earlier questions. The initial placement assessment quickly and accurately determines what a student knows and doesn't know in precalculus. ALEKS Math PPL then provides a learning module that instructs students on the topics they are most ready to learn. The students’ scores improve with mastery of each module. ALEKS Math PPL provides an opportunity to let students know whether they are prepared to be successful in calculus. ALEKS Math PPL also provides an opportunity for students to become prepared and to refresh their precalculus skills.

Sole prerequisite for Math 1550 or 1551: ALEKS Math PPL

Since fall 2012 at LSU, an appropriate ALEKS Math PPL score has been the only prerequisite for Math 1550 (Calculus I) and Math 1551 (Honors Calculus I). In the absence of the requisite ALEKS Math PPL scores, prior coursework and high ACT scores are not sufficient for taking Math 1550 or 1551.

Placement in Math 1550 and 1551 by ALEKS Math PPL Score Taken Through LSU
Most recent “fresh” score on the initial ALEKS placement assessment Placement
70% or higher Math 1550
75% or higher Math 1551

Students who will never need Math 1550 or 1551 may consider taking Math 1431, 1023, 1022, 1021, 1100, or 1029, instead, for which ALEKS Math PPL is not required; click here for placement tables.

LSU students who are taking calculus at other institutions to transfer back to LSU for credit must meet the calculus prerequisites at that institution, which in most cases is not an ALEKS Math PPL score. An ALEKS Math PPL score is not needed for transfer credit in Math 1550.

Getting help and cheating:

If you get help from a person or an open book while taking the ALEKS Math PPL test, you run the risk of placing yourself into a course for which you are not adequately prepared. Don't do it.

For the purpose of learning the material covered by ALEKS Math PPL, you may use any resources available: the ALEKS Learning Module, books, and other people. But once you enter the "Take the Placement" portal (see "Two portals into ALEKS Math PPL," below), you will want to do your own work with books closed. Otherwise, the ALEKS Math PPL score will not reflect your mastery of these topics, and may result in your getting a bad grade in Math 1550/1551.

How to sign up for ALEKS Math PPL:

To obtain an ALEKS Math PPL score for Math 1550 or 1551, a student must first have an active “myLSU” ID (formerly called a “PAWS” ID). This is obtained once the student applies for admission to LSU. Once the student has obtained a myLSU ID, he or she can go to the myLSU login-page by clicking here, then log in, and then navigate to the “ALEKS Calculus Placement Test” link, located under the Student Services tab. Students can see screen shots previewing the sign-up steps at http://grok.lsu.edu/article.aspx?articleid=16231. Once logged in and redirected to the ALEKS Corporation, the student will be required to submit a $25 payment via credit card; cards from foreign countries are often not accepted. None of this payment goes to LSU. It is important that the student register for ALEKS Math PPL through myLSU, as this is the only way for the student’s ALEKS Math PPL score to get reported to LSU.

Two portals into ALEKS Math PPL: “Take the Placement [Assessment]” and “Prep and Learning Module”:

Upon entering ALEKS Math PPL through the above steps, the student will be directed to complete a readiness module before proceeding to the placement assessment. The placement assessment takes about 90 minutes. ALEKS will automatically report the student’s assessment score to LSU the next business day. After the student completes the assessment, ALEKS Math PPL presents a report listing the precalculus topics the student has a good command of, and a list of precalculus topics that the student has not yet mastered. If the student is not satisfied with his score, the student should not immediately attempt to re-take the assessment; rather, he should enter the ALEKS Prep and Learning portal (which by then will no longer be dimmed out). The student will have access to the Learning Module for six months starting from the first time he or she enters the module.

Do not confuse the “initial” assessment with the “progress” assessment:

In the Prep and Learning Module, in addition to short, easy-to-follow lessons, there is also something called an assessment, which is a practice or “progress” assessment mirroring the assessment for placement. Scores on the progress assessment do not get reported to LSU. During the 6-month Prep and Learning Module access period, the Prep and Learning Module and the progress assessment can be accessed without limit. After the student has mastered some new topics in the Prep and Learning Module, he may re-enter ALEKS through the “Placement Assessment” portal and take the assessment again. Again, the score earned there will be automatically reported to LSU.

Caution:

ALEKS Math PPL allows a student to take the placement assessment no more than 5 times access code (see “ALEKS Math PPL calendar” below). The student may take these successive assessments even beyond the 6-month period of Learning Module access, but not beyond one year from the initial assessment.

The last initial score (not the highest) is the one used to determine eligibility for taking Math 1550/1551.

Initial ALEKS Math PPL score too low:

If a student’s score on the initial placement assessment is too low, he or she should proceed to the Prep and Learning Module and go through the lessons for several topics. Students should expect to require 2-3 hours' work on the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module lessons for each 1% increase in ALEKS Math PPL score needed. Once the score on the progress assessment is 70% (or 75% for Math 1551) or higher, the student should retake the placement assessment.

For students who will eventually need Math 1550 or 1551, but who cannot achieve the required ALEKS Math PPL score in time for the upcoming semester, the Math department recommends taking Math 1023, 1022, 1021, or off-campus Intermediate Algebra (offered also by LSU Online Distance Learning); see placement tables at www.math.lsu.edu/ugrad/PlacementCredit, and consult an advisor. It is expected that earning an A or B in Math 1022 or 1023 will make it easy for the student to get a requisite ALEKS Math PPL score; however, the A or B by itself does not qualify a student to take calculus.

When to take ALEKS Math PPL:

Here there are several factors to consider:

  1. ALEKS Math PPL tests students’ knowledge of algebra and trigonometry. Consequently, students currently taking LSU's Math 1022 or 1023, or taking a high school math course equivalent to Advanced Mathematics (precalculus version), Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry, or any calculus course that includes trigonometry, should probably wait until they have completed or almost completed that course before beginning ALEKS Math PPL. Students who earn an A or B in such a course can expect to do well on the initial ALEKS assessment; other students can also achieve a requisite ALEKS Math PPL score if they are prepared to spend sufficient time with the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module. (While precalculus courses will help prepare the student to take ALEKS Math PPL, the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module will, conversely, help a student master topics in his or her precalculus courses.)
  2. Students should take the ALEKS Math PPL assessment early enough to allow time to make sufficient progress in the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module, if needed, or to schedule a lower math course.
  3. Incoming freshmen and incoming transfer students who are interested in taking Math 1550 or 1551 in their first semester at LSU should take ALEKS Math PPL before their LSU Orientation meeting, if possible, so that their counselors can place them into the right Math course.
  4. The student should choose the semester in which he or she plans to take Math 1550/1551 in the first column of the ALEKS Math PPL calendar below. The second column will then give a six-month freshness window; an ALEKS Math PPL score earned during that window will count as the prereq for Math 1550/1551 in that semester (and not necessarily in later semesters, even in the case where the student repeats Math 1550/1551).
  5. ALEKS Math PPL Calendar: Freshness Window and Purge Date, by semester
    Semester in which student plans
    to take Math 1550/1551
    Freshness window for ALEKS Math PPL score
    to count as prerequisite for 1550/1551
    ALEKS Math PPL purge
    date for Math 1550/1551
    Fall 2019 Feb. 27, 2019 to Sept. 5, 2019 July 9, 2019, 11:59 PM
    Spring 2020 July 17, 2019 to Jan. 23, 2020 Nov. 6, 2019, 11:59 PM
    Summer 2020 Dec. 11, 2019 to June 11, 2020 April 21, 2020, 11:59 PM
    Fall 2020 From 180 days prior to first class day, to last day to add classes July ?, 2020, 11:59 PM
  6. The third column above gives the ALEKS Math PPL purge date for Math 1550/1551 for the chosen semester. Before that date, students can provisionally schedule Math 1550 or 1551 without the requisite ALEKS Math PPL score, on the presumption that the student will soon achieve the requisite ALEKS Math PPL score. (See the guidelines in the table below for whether a student should provisionally schedule of Math 1550/1551.) On the ALEKS Math PPL purge date, students provisionally scheduled in 1550/1551 without the requisite ALEKS Math PPL score will be purged from those courses. This may eventually affect scheduling in other courses. Students who have been purged from 1550/1551 (and students who have not yet scheduled 1550/1551) can still schedule (or re-schedule) 1550/1551 in the period from the ALEKS Math PPL purge date to the last day to add classes, but only after achieving the requisite ALEKS Math PPL score.
Advising/Planning Guidelines for Provisional Scheduling of Math 1550 and 1551
For purposes of planning, all LSU students may, up until the ALEKS Math PPL purge-date in the calendar above, provisionally schedule Math 1550 or 1551, even without having the required ALEKS score. It is important that students pre-schedule 1550 or 1551 only if they have a realistic chance of being ready (by the first day of classes) to perform well in calculus. The following guidelines give indications for who should pre-schedule 1550 or 1551:
1. MACT score of 27 (or QSAT score of 610) or higher.
2. Credit in Math 1022 or 1023 with a grade of A, B, C or P.
3. Currently taking Math 1022 or 1023 at LSU, or currently taking a high school second-semester Advanced Math course (precalculus version), Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry, or any calculus course that includes trigonometry.
4. ALEKS Math PPL score within 10 points of the required score and willingness to spend time with the ALEKS learning module.

List of topics:

While every student wanting to take Math 1550 or 1551 must sign up for ALEKS Math PPL through myLSU, anyone at any time can review the detailed list of topics in the ALEKS Math PPL test by visiting http://www.aleks.com/about_aleks/course_products, and scrolling down to “Prep for Calculus.” (This is the particular ALEKS Math PPL course product that LSU is using.)

Computer system requirements:

Students will need to install the free ALEKS Math PPL plug-in on their computers before they can begin the ALEKS Math PPL course; go to www.aleks.com/downloads to get this plug-in. Most internet browsers seem to work well with ALEKS Math PPL, with the exception of Mozilla Firefox, which often freezes up during the ALEKS Math PPL sign-up process. For ALEKS Math PPL Technical Support, go to www.aleks.com/faqs/technical.

Do I really need ALEKS Math PPL?

Q1. I have credit in Math 1550 and I already have an ALEKS Math PPL score of 70% or higher, but I earned a D in Math 1550 and need to repeat it. Do I need to re-take ALEKS Math PPL?
A1. Yes and no: Your score must be fresh (i.e., no more than 180 days old on the first day of classes in Math 1550) for the semester in which you want to re-take Math 1550. A score earned during certain periods can be fresh for two consecutive semesters, while scores earned in other periods may be fresh for only one semester. Recall the "ALEKS Math PPL calendar" above. If your score is stale for the semester when you want to re-take Math 1550, then you must re-take ALEKS Math PPL.

Q2. If I have credit in Math 1552 and need to take Math 1550, do I still need ALEKS Math PPL?
A2. Yes.

Q3. If I want to take Math 1550 through LSU's Office of Independent & Distance Learning, do I need ALEKS Math PPL?
A3. If you are an LSU student, then you must do ALEKS Math PPL; otherwise, ALEKS Math PPL is not required, and credit in MATH 1022 or equivalent will suffice.

Q4. If I want to earn or if I have earned credit in Math 1550 through AP Calculus courses taken in high school, through the CLEP or the IB math exam, through LSU's Calculus credit exam, or through transfer credit, do I need ALEKS Math PPL?
A4. No, unless you want to take Math 1550 at LSU even after having earned credit in Math 1550. See tables at www.math.lsu.edu/ugrad/PlacementCredit.

Q5. I am a special butterfly student (that is, I've had calc in high school, I was valedictorian, and my parents are engineers and brain surgeons), and I don't see why I need an ALEKS Math PPL score.
A4. You still need ALEKS Math PPL if you want to take Math 1550.

Miscellaneous questions about ALEKS:

Q1. Does ALEKS Math PPL give me credit in Math 1021, 1022, 1023, or any other course?
A1. No.

Q2. I got an ALEKS Math PPL score of 82%, but do not feel confident about my precalculus skills (trig and college algebra). I know my ALEKS Math PPL score will let me schedule calculus, but should I?
A2. This is where you need to take charge. If it's just a case of nervousness, don't let the word "calculus" intimidate you. But if you really feel that you are not in command of trig or college algebra, then you could consider taking either Math 1021 (College Algebra), Math 1022 (Trig), or the combination course Math 1023 (5 hours). However, if you already have credit in any of these courses, consult an advisor about the rules for repeating courses.

Q3. Will my ALEKS Math PPL score (obtained through LSU as above) count as the prerequisite for a calculus course at another school?
A3. No. Each school makes its own rules on prerequisites for its courses. You must meet the prereq stated in that school's catalog.

Q4. I paid for Chem Prep (an online course offered through the ALEKS platform as preparation (but not a prerequisite) for LSU's course, CHEM 1201). Do I have to pay again for ALEKS Math PPL for Math 1550/1551?
A4. ALEKS charges separately for each product you use, so, yes, you must pay for ALEKS Math PPL for Math 1550/1551 even if you have already paid for the ALEKS Chem Prep product.

LSU Math contact person:

For non-technical, procedural questions about ALEKS Math PPL, contact Mrs. Soula O'Bannon, ALEKS Math PPL Coordinator, Department of Mathematics, 301B Lockett Hall, 225-578-1617, soula@math.lsu.edu.

Last updated Oct. 1, 2019.