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MATH PLACEMENT AT FAU

To better ensure student success, FAU has adopted a mandatory placement exam, known as ALEKS, for incoming students. Because students come in with a wide variety of strengths and backgrounds in mathematics, it is reasonable to expect that there will be various levels of readiness among entering students. ALEKS is a powerful artificial-intelligence based mechanism to assess math proficiency and skill level. Students take the exam over the Internet and as many times as desired. The highest score is used to determine placement.  

Please read carefully the information below concerning the options you have for enrolling in mathematics courses at FAU based on your ALEKS score. It is important for success in mathematics that you enroll in a course for which you have the necessary preparation and which leads to the math courses required for your particular major.

Who must take ALEKS?

  • All entering freshmen, regardless of AP, IB, dual enrollment, and CLEP credits.

  • All entering transfer students with no prior college-level coursework in mathematics.

  • We highly encourage all transfer students to take the exam if they need additional mathematics coursework. If the score on the exam indicates a lack of preparedness for the course, the student should seriously consider taking any missing prerequisites or taking an ALEKS learning module (see below).

  • You must take ALEKS without assistance. (Receiving assistance on the ALEKS placement test is a violation of FAU's Code of Academic Integrity and is punishable under the provisions of that code; see www.fau.edu/regulations/chapter4/4.001_Code_of_Academic_Integrity.pdf
        
    In any mathematics class you take, your instructor reserves the right to administer an in-class, proctored exam during the first week of the semester. If your performance on this exam is not consistent with your ALEKS placement score, you may be required to register for a lower course or to complete remedial work prior to continuing. Extreme difference in results will be reported to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

How much does it cost?  How, when and where do I take it?

    The cost is $15.00 the first time the student takes the exam from home or any non-proctored location. All ALEKS retakes must be proctored in FAU's Testing and Evaluation center, either on the Boca Raton campus (Student Support Services building, Room 210) or on the Davie campus (Liberal Arts building, Room 243A) . If you are retaking the ALEKS and you are out of the FAU Service Area, please email the Testing Office at testandeval@fau.edu for further instructions . Students are allowed two hours to complete the exam. The charge is $28.50 for each subsequent attempt. Credit card payment is accepted. For further information and instructions please visit http://www.fau.edu/testing/MathPlacement.php .

    Students must take the exam between April 1 and the first day of classes for fall semester or any summer session, and between November 1 and the first day of classes for spring semester. We highly recommend that students take the exam early. Students enrolling in the fall semester, for example, should take the exam in April or May. Those entering in the spring should take it in November or early December.  

    For the first attempt, students take the exam from home by logging in to MyFAU. Please enter your FAUNet ID (username) and your FAU password. The FAUNetID corresponds to the letters appearing before “@fau.edu” in your FAU email address. After logging in, click on the "Students" tab, then "Take the Math Placement Exam."

OK, I’ve taken the exam and have my score.  Which class do I register for?

    The class you take depends on your probable major.  Click here for detailed information. If you need help deciding what course is right for you, you should contact the freshman advising office.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the exam take?
    T here is a time limit of two hours for the first time you take the exam and any subsequent times after that.

What should I expect on the exam?
    Before starting, have ready whatever you might need for calculating answers: paper, pen or pencil, and a calculator you are comfortable with. You should not use a hand-held device for taking this exam.

   
    Before the first question, ALEKS will check your computer software configuration and download the plug-ins necessary to take the exam. Next, there will be a very brief tutorial explaining how to key in your answers.
   
    The exam itself starts by posing questions, some fairly easy and some fairly difficult, to gauge your general ability and to give focus to subsequent questions. If you clearly don’t know the answer to a question, you should answer “I don’t know.” If the topic is one that you are familiar with, you should make an attempt at answering, because ALEKS interprets the “I don’t know” answer to mean that you are unfamiliar with the topic. The exam includes questions at many levels so, depending on your background, you may not be familiar with the content of every question.

    Exam results appear on the last page. The pie chart at the top of the page displays your performance in various categories.  The “What you can do” section that follows itemizes those categories that you performed well in. The “What you are ready to learn next” section lists those areas that you will need to review before taking the exam again. 
          Your ALEKS placement score appears above the pie chart: "__% Mastery.

I’ve forgotten my score.  How do I find it?
    Log in to the placement exam site again and click on “Retake Placement.”  Your scores will appear under “Past Placements.” The only score that will not appear here is the score you received in going through the Preparation for Calculus learning module. FAU will obtain that score, however, and it will be used for course placement. Keep in mind that your highest exam score determines placement.
 
How long are my ALEKS exam scores valid?
    ALEKS scores are valid for 5 months prior to the first day of your mathematics course. You must retake the exam if over 5 months.


How long does it take for my score to be posted so I can register for classes.
    It takes up to 3 business days for your ALEKS score to be posted to the Banner system.
 
I don’t have a credit card and/or computer.  How do I take the exam?
    Come to the Testing and Evaluation office in the Student Support Services building (SU 80), room 210 on the Boca Raton Campus to pay the $15.00 charge and to receive your access code. If this is your first attempt, you can take the exam from your own personal computer or, if you do not have a computer, you may take the test at any computer lab on campus or in the library. For all subsequent attempts, students must take the exam in the Testing and Evaluation office, where the charge is $28.50 (if you are taking the exam out of the FAU Service Area, please email the Testing office at testandeval@fau.edu for further instructions).

Should I seek help or assistance while taking the exam?
    No, absolutely not. If you get assistance on the exam, the score will not reflect your true mathematics ability, and your performance in the course will be in serious jeopardy.

Do I have to take the exam every time I want to register for a lower division mathematics class?
    No. You take the exam only for the first mathematics class you take. If you fail the course and your ALEKS score is over 5 month old, however, you will have to take the exam again. 
 
I received a low score on the ALEKS exam.  What should I do?
    The exam contains questions for students with varied strengths and backgrounds in mathematics, so you should not worry about your particular score. More important than your score is the class in which you should enroll. Your course of action will very much depend on your probable major. Please refer to our advising advice for more information. Questions may be directed to advisingservices@fau.edu.

    If you want a better score to get into a higher-level class, you have several options. If you lack formal training in one or more of the prerequisite topics for the courses, you should take the prerequisite course(s) at FAU. If you previously studied all of the prerequisites and feel that you need a refresher, ALEKS offers a variety of online learning modules, each six weeks in length, designed to work with students to enhance their mathematics ability. The cost for each six-week learning module is $30.00.

    If your score was at or slightly above the minimum score required for enrolling in a particular course, you should still consider one of the above options for enhancing your mathematics ability. Keep in mind that the higher your score, the better you will likely perform in the class.
 
I received a score below 15.  What should I do?
    Contact advisingservices@fau.edu for instructions on enrolling for a math prep course at a local community college. Upon completion, you will need to retake the ALEKS placement exam until you achieve a score of 15 or higher.
 
Which ALEKS learning module should I register for?
    If you wish to better prepare yourself for your mathematics course or wish to place into a higher level class, the following modules are available through ALEKS:
  • If your score is between 15 and 25, you should take Preparation for College Algebra. After completing the module, you will have to register for the placement exam again.

  • If your score is 26 or higher, you should take Preparation for Calculus. After completing this module, you will have to register to take the proctored placement exam in the office of Testing and Evaluation.

    The cost of each ALEKS learning module is $30.00. Students are given six weeks to complete the module. You can register for the ALEKS learning modules at the same site as the placement exam. 
 
Will my ALEKS score appear on my transcript?  Who will know my score?
    Your ALEKS score will not appear on your transcript. The score is used primarily to determine course placement. Some FAU advisors might also use the score to offer advice on your strengths and weaknesses in mathematics.
 
I am having technical problems with ALEKS.  Whom should I contact?
    For ALEKS customer support, please send messages via this URL: http://support.aleks.com


Additional questions?
Contact: mathplacement@fau.edu


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