As a condition of admission some students are required to participate in Smart Start. Students may be able to remove or reduce this requirement by taking placement assessments.  Some students are required to participate in both Smart Start Math and Smart Start English. These students may take one or both of the assessments to remove or reduce the Smart Start requirement.  Some students are required to take just one of the two Smart Start programs. Students required to take one or both (Math and English) may take just one of the placement assessments appropriate to their specific admission status.  

  • Math: Students who have not yet assessed at 46% on the Aleks assessment by July 30, 2018 will begin at GSU in the Smart Start Math program that begins August 13, 2018. Math Placement (Aleks) is currently available.  Results are known immediately after assessment. Students who are proactive will have the opportunity to utilize online learning modules to help improve scores and then retest to try and improve scores.  However, all assessment must be done by July 30th.

  • Writing/English: Students who have not taken the writing assessment by July 30, 2018 will begin at GSU in the Smart Start Writing program that starts August 13, 2018.  Faculty reviewers of the writing assessment will notify the student if their assessment is at a level appropriate to be exempt from Smart Start English. English Placement is available beginning May 1, 2018.

Writing Activity

Please review the English Writing Activity Tutorial before beginning the Writing Activity.

ALEKS Mathematics Placement Assessment

The ALEKS Placement Assessment covers material from Basic Math through Precalculus and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. After the assessment, a targeted Prep and Learning Module is available for you to review and learn material, and to improve placement and eventual course outcomes. 

All students are strongly encouraged to spend several hours using the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module. 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. 

First of all, RELAX. 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. There is really no penalty for incorrectly answering a question on the assessment. 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. 

Be honest about your skill level. There is no benefit to cheating on the placement assessment - your only reward will be that you are forced to take a class that is too difficult for your current level of mathematical knowledge. Therefore, while you are taking the assessment, do not consult any other source for help (friends, family, Internet searches, etc.). The purpose of the placement assessment is to give an accurate measure of your current mathematical skills so that you will be successful in your mathematics courses. 

Who has to take the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

All students admitted to the university who are required to enroll in Smart Start Mathematics must take the ALEKS Placement Assessment. 

Is there a fee for using ALEKS?

The use of ALEKS is included in your GSU student fees.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Yes, you may attempt the ALEKS Placement Assessment up to five times. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module in between placement assessments so that you can improve your skills.

The ALEKS Assessment will provide important feedback for each level that you complete and may require that you spend designated amounts of time in the Prep and Learning Module before allowing you to retake the assessment.

Remember, you must wait at least 48 hours between attempts. 

Where can I complete the ALEKS Mathematics Placement Assessments/ Will the ALEKS Placement Assessments be proctored?

You may complete the ALEKS Placement Assessment from any computer with Internet access. Additionally, GSU will proctor three on campus sessions.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment immediately?

You must wait 48 hours between placement assessments. There is generally no benefit to re-taking the assessment immediately after completing a prior attempt. Unlike the SAT or ACT, you cannot improve your results by simply re-taking the assessment without spending time 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, the ALEKS Assessment will provide important feedback for each level that you complete and may require that you spend designated amounts of time in the Prep and Learning Module before allowing you to retake the assessment. 

Are placement assessments timed?

Yes, you have 48 hours to complete a placement assessment once it has begun.

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 another calculator. 

What happens if I do not complete a placement assessment in the allotted time?

If the placement assessment is unproctored, you will have to restart the assessment. If the incomplete assessment is proctored and timed, you will be given a placement result, but it may underestimate your true ability. 

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. Although you are not required to enroll in Smart Start Mathematics if you score a 46 percent or better on the assessment, we strongly suggest that if your score is close 46 percent, you take Early Start Mathematics. It is likely that such preparation will make you more comfortable and confident in your studies going forward.

Important: If you score better than 46 percent on your best assessment and you do not wish to take Smart Start Mathematics, you must contact Yakeea Daniels to be waived from the class.

How long is my placement result valid?

Your placement result is valid for six months. 

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?

No; access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with up to five 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. 

Can I change to a different Prep and Learning Module later?

No, you may only use one Prep and Learning Module. If you are unsure which module to select, use the module recommended by ALEKS. 

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. 

I did not place into the class I wanted. Can I take the course anyway?

No, you must achieve the minimum placement result to take each corresponding class. 

What if I placed into the class I wanted?

Congratulations! Continue to use your Prep and Learning Module to improve your chances for success. The placement result above is the minimum preparation required for your course! Take advantage of the targeted review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class. 

Where can I get help with ALEKS?

Please review the ALEKS Overview Summary. You may also review the links below:

Access Services for Students with Disabilities

Governors State University believes education should be accessible to everyone. If you have a temporary health issue or a permanent disability, please contact Access Services for Students with Disabilities at 708.235.3968.

How do I begin using ALEKS?

Please click on the following link, and insert code: NGJYD-HY963.

Please review the English Writing Activity Tutorial before beginning the Writing Activity.

Additional Questions

If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Admission and Student Recruitment at 708.534.4490.