The University of Delaware requires an assessment of your mathematical knowledge prior to enrolling in a math course. The Department of Mathematical Sciences in conjunction with the ALEKS web-based program will provide this assessment*. ALEKS is a powerful artificial-intelligence assessment tool that will map your mathematical strengths and weaknesses on the topics of algebra, intermediate algebra, pre-calculus and trigonometry.
(* If you took the math placement exam during or prior to the summer 2013, your math placement program is not the one described here. Please go to the following link for more information: http://www.math.udel.edu/placement/pt_levels.html)
Read this document carefully and completely so you are aware of exactly what is required for an accurate and timely math placement.
Importance of accurate placement: The purpose of this math placement assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical skills so that you will be successful in your mathematics course(s). It is important that your math skills and background be assessed so you can succeed in your math courses and complete your math requirements for graduation in an efficient manner.
If you are not placed accurately in a math course, it could mean you will spend thousands of dollars and additional semesters to graduate. If you have another person take this assessment (including parents, other students, friends, etc.) or otherwise try to avoid or circumvent this process (such as using a calculator or textbook or other web-based resources), your assessment will not be an accurate reflection of your mathematical knowledge. . (Further information about academic honesty can be found in the Student Guide to University Policies, Student Code of Conduct.) Ultimately, this will result in being enrolled in an inappropriate math course. Many students fail or withdraw from their math course due to incomplete knowledge of math prerequisite skills. They can spend thousands of dollars taking another math course to review or learn mathematics skills and have to re-take a math course. Additionally, many other courses depend on enrollment in a particular math course so a change in your math course enrollment could impact degree completion. Furthermore, students who find themselves in an inappropriate math course become discouraged and withdraw from programs that might have been interesting, rewarding, and in high demand in the job market.
In addition to your math course, your math placement level will also determine your eligibility to enroll in other requirements for your major including Chemistry and Biology. Therefore, in order to stay on track for graduation in a 4 year time period, it's imperative that you take this process very seriously.
All students should take the Math Placement Assessment: All students who enter the University are required to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment. If you took AP Calculus and are waiting for your score, TAKE this assessment. If your AP Calculus score is not 5, TAKE this assessment. If you are a transfer student and are transferring a math course, TAKE this assessment. If you are directed to take this assessment through Admissions, TAKE this assessment. When in doubt, TAKE the assessment so your adviser will have the necessary information to complete your course enrollment.
Overview of placement program: The math placement program consists of several important steps. First determine your placement level goal. Then take the first math assessment. If you have met your placement level goal, it is recommended, but not required, that you continue to review and take another assessment. If you have not met your placement level goal, a review program is provided through the ALEKS program. Finish reviewing all the topics and, when ready, take the second and final assessment.
Keep in mind this entire process must be completed by the deadline indicated by Admissions or within six weeks after beginning this process, whichever is earliest. After six weeks, you will no longer have access to the placement program!
Each step is described in more detail below. Please read this entire document completely before beginning the process.
I. Determine your math placement level goal: You must determine what math course needed for your major to determine your math placement level goal. The web site http://www.math.udel.edu/placement/pt_course_req.html provides assistance for many majors. However, if you cannot find your major from this list, please go to:
http://academiccatalog.udel.edu/Pub_ShowCatalogPage.aspx?CATKEY=CATKEY_2107&ACYEAR=2013-2014&DSPL=Published to choose your major. If the math requirement is not listed on that page, then choose the University and College requirement option from your major curriculum page. If you still have problems, you may want to contact your college advisement office for more information.
II. Take the first math placement assessment through the ALEKS program: Instructions on how to access the math placement assessments and the due date for completion of this entire placement process will be provided by Admissions. NOTE: Pay attention to your NSO (New Student Orientation) dates and deadlines! You need to have the entire placement process (includes both assessments) completed as indicated by Admissions and the deadline imposed by the ALEKS program (six weeks after you begin the process); whichever is earliest. This should be several days or weeks PRIOR to your NSO meeting .
Prior to beginning this assessment, a short tutorial will explain how to use the ALEKS system.
Computer requirements: Please make sure you have a stable network connection and browser prior to beginning this placement test. You most likely will not have any difficulty, but you may find you will have to download some program(s) on your computer. The ALEKS program will prompt you when, and if, any downloads are necessary. Please follow the instructions carefully and contact the technical support http://www.aleks.com/support for additional assistance. You can contact http://www.aleks.com/downloads for more information. In the event you have to restart your browser, you will be able to go to aleks.com to continue where you left off in the registration process.
The first ALEKS Placement Assessment covers material from Basic Math through Precalculus and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. After this initial assessment, your score will be translated into a level (see the chart below). You have at most 48 hours to complete the assessment and you can start and stop. However, if you do not complete the assessment in 48 hours, you will have to begin again. At most 30 questions will be asked.
Minimum Percentage on Aleks Assessment |
Placement Level |
Less than 45% |
G |
45% |
M |
60% |
P |
65% |
S |
70% |
B |
75% |
C |
Keep in mind this is an “assessment,” NOT A TEST. The difference is that an assessment is designed to determine what you know. 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. 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.
You may not use a calculator, ask another person for hints or use any other resource.
If you have met your level goal and are satisfied, you have finished the placement process. Even if you have achieved placement in your desired course, time spent in ALEKS will better prepare you for your upcoming course and ultimately lead to better grades so you may still want to continue to review and test your mathematics skills.
If you have NOT met your level goal and are not satisfied with your course placement, a targeted Prep and Learning Module (an extensive review of several math topics) is available for you to review and learn material, and then improve placement results through an additional placement assessment. The ALEKS program will direct you to the review program.
NOTE: You cannot begin the second assessment until you have completed 3 hours in the Prep and Learning module and you must wait 48 hours between assessments.
III. Complete the Review Process: If you have not met your level goal, you must complete at least 3 hours working on the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module and you must wait 48 hours after finishing the first assessment before beginning the second assessment. The ALEKS program will direct you to the appropriate review program. To make the second attempt worthwhile, it is important you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module in between placement assessments so that you can improve your skills.
This is not an open-ended process. Admissions will have a due date that is prior to the NSO (New Student Orientation) and you only have access to the ALEKS program for six weeks from when you begin the process.
IV. Take the second assessment: Once you have completed at least 3 hours in the Prep and Learning module (hopefully you have done more) and at least 48 hours have passed since the first assessment, you are ready to take the second and final assessment. The ALEKS program will direct you to the second assessment.
The highest percentage from the two assessments will be used for placement purposes. Both percentage scores and the associated levels will appear in your student record.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who has to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment?
All students who enter the University are required to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment. All students who have an AP calculus score of less than 5 will have to take this assessment. All honors students will have to take this assessment. All transfer students will take this assessment. When in doubt, take the assessment so your adviser will have the necessary information to complete your course enrollment.
When should I take and complete the ALEKS Placement Assessment?
Admissions will publish a due date. In addition, you only have access to the ALEKS program six weeks from when you begin the process. Your deadline will be the earliest of these two due dates. Please watch these dates carefully as you cannot access ALEKS after the six week deadline and you must complete the process prior to your NSO advisement meeting. Begin this process at least two weeks prior to the deadline indicated by Admissions. Do not procrastinate and try to complete this process in one day! You cannot take both assessments in one day
Is there a fee for using ALEKS?
Use of ALEKS is included in your student fees.
Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?
You have two attempts to reach your level goal. If you are not satisfied with your first placement assessment, yes, you may retake the assessment after 48 hours have passed. However, you must spend at least 3 hours working on the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module before beginning your second attempt. To make the second attempt worthwhile, it is important you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module in between placement assessments so that you can improve your skills.
Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately?
You must wait at least 48 hours between placement assessments. You cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the assessment without spending at least 3 hours in the Prep and Learning Module to refresh material that you may have forgotten or to learn new material.
Must I work in my ALEKS Prep and Learning Module between placement assessments?
Yes, for 3 hours between the 1st and 2nd placement assessments.
Are placement assessments timed?
Yes, you have 48 hours to complete a placement assessment once it has begun. You can start and stop an assessment but you must complete the entire assessment within 48 hours or you must restart the assessment. Generally students finish an assessment in about 90 minutes. Therefore, start the assessment only when you have enough time to devote to working through the problems.
Keep in mind your adviser will need the results of the assessment for enrollment in your math course. You must complete this entire process prior to the Admissions due date or the six week deadline imposed by ALEKS, whichever is earliest. Please plan accordingly!
How long will a placement assessment take to complete?
Placement assessments require approximately 90 minutes to complete, but the amount of time will vary by student. There will be a maximum of 30 questions.
May I use a calculator while using ALEKS?
ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, you may not use a calculator.
What happens if I do not complete a placement assessment in the allotted time?
You will have to restart the assessment.
May I use any other resources during a placement assessment?
You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided by ALEKS. You may not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources may lead to improper placement and ultimately course failure.
What is my placement result?
Your placement result is your percentage mastery on the best assessment that will correspond to a specific placement level (Levels G, M, P, S, B or C) that, in turn, are associated with several math courses.
Minimum Percentage on Aleks Assessment |
Placement Level* |
Less than 45% |
G |
45% |
M |
60% |
P |
65% |
S |
70% |
B |
75% |
C |
What is my placement level goal?
This will depend on your major. The web site http://www.math.udel.edu/placement/pt_course_req.html provides assistance for many majors. However, if you cannot find your major from this list, please go to: http://academiccatalog.udel.edu/Pub_ShowCatalogPage.aspx?CATKEY=CATKEY_2107&ACYEAR=2013-2014&DSPL=Published to choose your major. If the math requirement is not listed on that page, then choose the University and College requirement option from your major curriculum page. If you still have problems, you may want to contact your college advisement office for more information.
What does the placement level mean?
Ensuring students have the appropriate math skills prior to enrolling in a math course will increase the ability for students to successfully complete their math course requirements. The following table illustrates the association between the math courses and the placement levels required for enrollment. You cannot enroll in any of these math courses without obtaining the appropriate math placement level.
Course |
Title |
Placement Levels required for enrollment |
Math 010 |
Intermediate Algebra (REMEDIAL, NON CREDIT!) |
G, M, P, S, C |
Math 113 |
Contemporary Mathematics |
G, M, P, S, C |
Math 114 |
College Mathematics and Statistics |
M, P, S, B, C |
Math 115 |
Precalculus |
P, S, B, C |
Math 117 |
Precalculus for Scientists and Engineers |
S, B,C |
Math 221 |
Calculus I |
B, C |
Math 241 |
Analytic Geometry and Calculus A |
C |
There is a ranking associated with these placement levels – level G is the lowest level and Level C is the highest. The following chart indicates the ranking of the levels.
Placement Level |
Math Courses |
G |
Math 010 or Math 113 or Math 127 |
M |
Math 114 |
P |
Math 115 |
S |
Math 117 |
B |
Math 221 |
C |
Math 241 |
Additional information about these levels can be found at: http://www.math.udel.edu/placement/pt_levels_ALEKS.html
Can I practice using ALEKS before I begin placement?
ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial before your placement begins.
How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module?
You will have six weeks of access from the time that you start using your Prep and Learning module.
Is there an additional fee for my Prep and Learning Module?
Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with placement assessments.
What are ALEKS Progress Assessments?
While working in a Prep and Learning Module, you will periodically complete progress assessments to solidify your gains in knowledge.
Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement?
No, you must complete a new placement assessment to change your placement result. Click on the placement tab on the upper right of the page from within ALEKS. Only your placement assessment results will be used for course placement.
What if I do not place into the course I wanted?
You can use a Prep and Learning Module to review and learn, and you may take another placement assessment to improve your placement result. You will only be allowed two placement assessments so do not begin the second (and last) assessment until you have reviewed the material.
I did not place into the class I wanted. Can I take it anyway?
No, you must achieve the minimum placement level to take each corresponding course.
Why am I placing into a course that I already took in high school?
Unfortunately, math courses are not standardized so a course taken in high school may not cover the same topics or have the same level of expectation as a course with a similar title in college.
What if I placed into the class I wanted?
Congratulations! Continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your mathematics skills and understandings. Take advantage of the targeted review and learning features in ALEKS so you are better prepared for your math course.
How valid is this test?
The ALEKS program has been used extensively with placement on college campuses. Their research indicates students perform best when they have been placed correctly.
Where can I get help with ALEKS?
http://www.aleks.com/faqs/technical
http://support.aleks.com/
How do I begin using ALEKS?
Please go to the “My Blue Hen Home Portal” and sign-in if you are an incoming Freshmen.