At GSU, we strive to ensure that students are successful in their courses and in their education. To achieve this goal, undergraduate 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.

Writing Placement 

All undergraduate students entering GSU who still need to take ENGL 1000, Writing Studies 1 and/or ENGL 1010, Writing Studies 2, will be enrolled in a companion course called ENGL 1090: Academic Writing Workshop, when they register for Writing Studies 1 or 2. ENGL 1090 offers students additional time and attention on writing processes associated with drafting, circulating, and revising written work. You will meet with you academic to determine the appropriate time to complete the writing placement exam. 

Prior to registration, students wishing to enroll in a stand-alone section of Writing Studies 1 or 2 may submit materials demonstrating proficiency with foundational writing processes and rhetorical knowledge.

Who May Wish to Place into a Stand-Alone Section

ENGL 1090 has been designed so that it will be beneficial for all writing students. We expect that this course will positively add to your experience in Writing Studies 1 and 2 and will provide you with additional experiences and strategies that will have a lasting influence on your success as a writer—both during college and after you graduate.

ENGL 1090 is a college-level course that will count as an elective toward graduation. However, there may be instances when students would wish to enroll in a stand-alone section of their first-year writing courses. For instance, placing out of the course may mean that you would have an opportunity to enroll in a different 1-credit elective later in your academic career. Of course, you may have other reasons for wanting to attempt placing into a stand-alone section. It is recommended that you discuss these reasons with your advisor as part of the orientation and registration process.

Placement Process

Students wishing to attempt placement into a stand-alone section of ENGL 1000 and/or ENGL 1010 may do so by notifying their advisor of their interest in attempting placement. Once their adviser has been notified, students attempting placement must submit to the director of first-year writing evidence that demonstrates familiarity with and expertise in foundational writing processes and rhetorical knowledge.

Such evidence can include any of the following, but for placement to be successful, students must meet the criteria for at least one of them:


  • A minimum unweighted high school GPA of 3.40 on a 4.0 scale or acceptance into GSU’s honor’s program at the honor’s program director’s discretion.
  • Demonstrated achievement in high school English classes by receiving an A in all four years.
  • A grade of A in a college-level writing course (such as ENGL 1000, ENGL 1010, or transferred credit in an equivalent course from another institution) or writing-intensive course (such as HUM 1001).
  • A portfolio of prior work that demonstrates evidence of proficiency. When students petition for placement, they will receive a list of materials to be included in the portfolio, evaluative criteria, and an explanation of the process for submission. Briefly, the portfolio will include a brief reflective statement describing the portfolio contents and reflecting on one’s ability to succeed in the stand-alone sections. In addition, the portfolio will include examples of writing that demonstrate students’ uses of writing processes—especially revision in response to readers’ commentary—and rhetorical knowledge.


When any of these materials are submitted, they will be evaluated by GSU faculty and staff to determine whether the placement criteria have been met.

For students who submit a portfolio as evidence of achievement, English faculty will provide a formative assessment with recommendations for continued development in the coming year, regardless of the placement decision. The portfolio will be submitted via Governors State University’s Blackboard system,. Students may find the directions for submitting a portfolio for placement by logging on to Blackboard and searching the “My Courses” navigation section for “Writing Studies Placement.” If you do not see this course listed, or if you have questions about the submission process, please speak to your advisor for more information, or contact the Director of First-year Writing, Dr. Bradley Smith via email (

The cutoff date for submitting a portfolio as evidence of proficiency will be two weeks before the start of the semester. In the event that no placement materials are submitted, students will be placed into the paired sections of the first-year writing courses .

Statistics Placement

All undergraduate students entering GSU that need to take Math 2100: Elementary Statistics will be required to take the ALEKS Placement, Preparation, and Learning assessment.  Students that need extra support to be successful in the course will be enrolled in the companion course Math 2101: Elementary Statistics Laboratory when they register for Math 2100.  The statistics laboratory is designed to give students the opportunity to apply the statistics techniques discussed in Math 2100 to real-world application problems, to further develop foundational mathematical skills, and to promote growth mindset and self-efficacy as a mathematics student. Math 2101 is college-level course that count as general elective credit towards graduation requirement.

Students may choose to take Math 2100 without the companion laboratory if they demonstrate mathematical proficiency by attaining an ALEKS placement score of 46 or higher.  Students having earned credit for a college-level mathematics course prior to registering for Math 2100 are exempt from the ALEKS assessment requirement.

ALEKS Placement Assessment

The ALEKS Placement Assessment covers material from pre-algebra, geometry, algebra I &II, and trigonometry. Since the level of difficulty of each question is determined based on the student’s answers to previous questions, some students never advance beyond the Algebra II test questions. The assessment will take approximately 60–90 minutes to complete. After the assessment, an individualized, targeted Preparation and Learning Module is available for you to review and practice the material, as well as to improve placement and eventual course outcomes. You will work your academic advisor to determine the appropriate time to complete your math placement based on your class schedule.

The cost of the ALEKS Placement assessment and Preparation and Learning module is included in your GSU student fees.  After your first proctored placement attempt, you may log into the account you created to practice the ALEKS exam (up to three times) from any computer with internet access. However, the only scores from assessments proctored on-campus at Governors State University will be considered for placement decisions.  Contact the Testing Center to schedule your proctored ALEKS Placement Assessment.  You may attempt the ALEKS Placement Assessment a total of five times. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, you must spend time working in your ALEKS Preparation and Learning Module in between placement assessments to improve your skills. You must wait at least 48 hours between attempts.

Free ALEKS Practice Exams

The ALEKS website provides you the opportunity to take a practice test.  The actual placement test will have up to 30 questions.  In the practice version it will stop at 20 questions, then ask you to choose a level of understanding.  For 48 hours, you’ll be able to practice questions with feedback in two modes: 1. Review of questions that the placement and your choice of level gave you credit for knowing found in the main menu (three lines at the top left on the home page); and 2. Learning new topics that you are ready to learn that will automatically be presented at the left of the home page.

Here are the steps to get to the practice test and after completion, the review and learning modes:

Go to and click on Free Trial in the upper right of the screen, the second of four choices from left to right.

On this page, under Independent Use, click CONTINUE.

Here under Explore Student Module, click TRY ALEKS NOW.

On the next page, click Terms of Use, read as desired, then check the box next to I have read and agree to the Terms of Use and then click CONTINUE.

Next complete the short form Enter Your Personal Information.  You fill in your first name, last name, email and verify email (please use a personal email account here—not a school account), then choose College or K-12 Student in the first drop-down menu, then Higher Ed | Math in the middle one, and Beginning and Intermediate Algebra Combined for the last choice, then click CONTINUE.

A Guest Account will then be created with a username and password. Write them down if you want to come back and access ALEKS again for more practice before the placement exam. Then click CONTINUE TO FREE TRIAL.

There are a couple of pages of explanation, then you will go through a Tools Tutorial that shows you briefly how to enter various types of answers in the ALEKS platform.

After that, it will give you an initial knowledge check that will be similar to the placement test. When you are finished, you will be asked what level of math you want to practice.  Choose one of the first two options, unless your math skills are very strong.

You have access for 48 hours. Time your practice so that you do it in the two or three days before you take your first proctored placement assessment.

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.

Additional Questions

If you have additional questions, please contact your academic advisor or the Undergraduate Academic Advising Center at