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.
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.
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.
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 loginpage 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 signup 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.
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 retake 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.
In the Prep and Learning Module, in addition to short, easytofollow 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 6month 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 reenter ALEKS through the “Placement Assessment” portal and take the assessment again. Again, the score earned there will be automatically reported to LSU.
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 6month 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.
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 23 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 offcampus 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.
Here there are several factors to consider:
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 
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 purgedate in the calendar above, provisionally schedule Math 1550 or 1551, even without having the required ALEKS score. It is important that students preschedule 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 preschedule 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 secondsemester Advanced Math course (precalculus version), PreCalculus, 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. 
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.)
Students will need to install the free ALEKS Math PPL plugin on their computers before they can begin the ALEKS Math PPL course; go to www.aleks.com/downloads to get this plugin. 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 signup process. For ALEKS Math PPL Technical Support, go to www.aleks.com/faqs/technical.
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 retake 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 retake 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 retake Math 1550, then you must retake 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.
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.
For nontechnical, procedural questions about ALEKS Math PPL, contact Mrs. Soula O'Bannon, ALEKS Math PPL Coordinator, Department of Mathematics, 301B Lockett Hall, 2255781617, soula@math.lsu.edu.
Last updated Oct. 1, 2019.