At GSU, we strive to ensure that students are successful in their courses and in their education. To achieve this goal, students are asked to complete placement activities in both math and writing. These placement activities will help determine which course options in math and English will best fit with students’ prior educational experiences and future educational goals.

In our goal to help students be successful, some students are required to participate in Smart Start as a condition of admission. Students may be able to remove or reduce this requirement by taking the placement assessments listed below. Some students are required to participate in both Smart Start Math and Smart Start English. These students will take one or both of the assessments to determine the Smart Start requirement.  Some students are required to take just one of the two Smart Start programs. 

  • Math: Students who have not yet assessed at 46% on the ALEKS assessment by August 15 [FD1] will begin at GSU in the Smart Start Math program that begins two weeks prior to the fall semester. 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 assessments must be done by August 15. IMPORTANT: The only ALEKS scores that will be considered must be proctored by the Governors State University Testing Center.
  • Writing/English: Students who have not successfully completed the writing assessment by July 30 will begin at GSU in the Smart Start Writing program that starts two weeks prior to the fall semester. 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.

Writing Placement

In addition to determining whether Smart Start English will be beneficial to your success at GSU, students should also consider whether they would like to enroll in ENGL 2920: Writing Studio. This is an optional course that provides academic writing support as you work on your other writing assignments throughout the semester, including the required course ENGL 1000: Writing Studies I. For more information about these courses, please speak with your student advisor or ask about them during orientation.

In order to work to remove the conditional status from your admission, you may complete the writing assessment mentioned above. Please review the English Writing Activity Tutorial[SB2]  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, as well as to improve placement and eventual course outcomes. 

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 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 the assessment truly reflects your level of knowledge and math preparedness. 

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[FD3]  times. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, you must spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module in between placement assessments to improve your skills.

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 practice the ALEKS exam from any computer with internet access up to three times. However, the only scores that will be considered for your placement will be from assessments proctored on-campus at Governors State University[FD4] .

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 needed. Otherwise, you may not use another calculator. 

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. [FD5]

How long is my placement result valid?

Your placement result is valid for six months. 

How long do I have access to my Prep and Learning Module?

The Prep and Learning Modules will expire on September 15, 2019[FD6] . 

Does progress in an ALEKS Prep and Learning Module count toward placement?

No, you must complete a new proctored placement assessment to change your placement result.

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.

Additional Questions

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

 [FD1]Change to:   August 15

 [FD3]Change to four

 [FD4]Change paragraph to:

All ALEKS assessments are proctored.   If you want to practice between assessments, please take advantage of the ALEKS Learning Modules.

 [FD5]Change paragraph to:

No – You may only use the pencil and scratch paper provided by the Testing Center along with the on screen calculator.  You are not allowed to access any other website while completing this assessment.

 [FD6]Change to:   May 15, 2021