ALEKS Math Placement Test

GW uses an online placement test, Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) to place incoming students in the appropriate economics classes. All students planning to take an economics class must complete the test. A link to the test is provided below under Guidance on Taking the Test.

The placement test is now available. Unless you have completed ECON 1001 with a B- or higher grade, students must have the required minimum ALEKS placement test score of 61 in the BanWeb system prior to registering for ECON 1011. Please be advised that you only have a total of 4 attempts to take this test and achieve the required minimum score for the course you want to take. ALEKS Math assessments taken after March 1st of each year will be applicable for Summer/Fall/Spring registration in upcoming semesters. For example, if you take an ALEKS Math assessment on or after March 1st, the highest score you achieve will be the only score used to allow registration for the upcoming Summer, Fall and Spring semesters.

If retakes are required, please be aware that each additional attempt is separated by a minimum “cooling off” period of 48 hours and students must complete a minimum of three hours in the Prep Learning Modules between each attempt.  All Prep Learning Modules and attempts must be completed prior to registering for Econ 1011.


Who Needs to Take ALEKS

This test is mandatory for any incoming student who wishes to register for ECON 1001 or ECON 1011. Students who wish to register for ECON 1011 must take the ALEKS test and receive the minimum score prior to registering for the course. Students who have attempted the ALEKS Placement exam but who have not achieved the minimum score of 61, may register for ECON 1001.

Minimum Required ALEKS Test Scores Required for Registration

  • ECON 1001: No minimum score required (but students must still complete the ALEKS test)
  • ECON 1011: 61

 Guidance on Taking the Test

Students have 2.5 hours to complete the assessment and should ensure that they start the test only when they expect to have the full 2.5 hours available uninterrupted. Students should take the test only when they feel they are prepared and with the intention of doing their best. It is important for students to take their time and not rush through the assessment. The purpose of the ALEKS test is to ensure students are placed in a course that they will find challenging but manageable. Students who do not prepare or take the assessment seriously run the risk of being placed in a course that will be boring, frustrating, or both. The goal of the Economics Department is for students to have a successful first semester.

When students are prepared to take the test they can access it through the GW Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) Portal. Please note that the system does require logging in with GW credentials.



View the ALEKS Math Assessment FAQ (PDF)

What is ALEKS?

ALEKS is an online, non-multiple choice adaptive placement exam. The ALEKS placement exam is used to assist students in determining the appropriate level of placement in mathematics and economics courses, to help ensure students have the demonstrated skills for the greatest likelihood of success.

After completing the first placement assessment, ALEKS will recommend the learning module that is best matched to the student's current abilities.

How do students take ALEKS?

Students can access the placement exam directly or they can visit the GW schedule of classes. For additional information on the math placement process students should visit the Math Department website.

Who must take ALEKS?

All incoming students who are in one of the following GW schools must complete the ALEKS math placement exam:
•    Elliott School of International Affairs
•    Milken Institute School of Public Health
•    School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
•    School of Business

All students who plan to register for one of the following courses must complete the ALEKS math placement exam:
•    ECON 1001-Principles of Math for Economics
•    ECON 1011-Principles of Microeconomics
•    MATH 1051-Finite Mathematics for Social and Management Sciences
•    MATH 1220-Calculus with Precalculus I
•    MATH 1231-Single Variable Calculus I
•    MATH 1252-Calculus: Social & Management Sciences

The chart below details course eligibility by minimum ALEKS placement scores:

Minimum ALEKS Scores

What is the deadline for students to attain the minimum placement score?

Students must have the minimum required ALEKS placement test score of 61 in the BanWeb system prior to registering for ECON 1011.

How many times can a student take the ALEKS math placement exam?

ALEKS may be taken more than once, with a total of 4 attempts to attain the minimum placement score. Students must wait a minimum of 48 hours and complete a minimum of 3 hours in the Prep Learning Modules between ALEKS attempts. A significant percentage of students who take advantage of the ALEKS Learning Modules improve their scores to move up by one or more course levels. Students who spend at least 15 hours in a learning module show the most improvement in their scores. The ALEKS assessment is highly reliable and scores do not normally change without review and practice between assessments.

If a student completed ECON 1001, do they still have to take ALEKS to register for ECON 1011?

Students who earn a grade of C+ or below in ECON 1001 must still take ALEKS and attain a score of 61 or higher to enroll in ECON 1011. Students who complete ECON 1001 with a B- or higher do not need to take ALEKS again to enroll in ECON 1011.

How long will the placement exam take?

Students should allow 2 hours of uninterrupted time to complete the assessment. The exam is adaptive so the actual time and number of questions will vary depending on the student. Most students complete ALEKS in approximately 90 minutes. Students will have up to 2 ½ hours from when they begin the placement exam to complete it before they will have to start the exam again.

May students use a calculator or any other resources while taking ALEKS?

Students may only use a pen or pencil, paper and the resources provided within ALEKS.
ALEKS provides an on -screen calculator if students need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, a calculator may not be used. Students 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 course placement and ultimately course failure. It is also a violation of GW's academic integrity policy.

What do students do after they have completed ALEKS?

When students reach the end of the questions, and submit their assessment, a score and a pie chart will appear. The "Placement Result " (overall score) will range from 0 to 100. The system also displays subscores in different math topic areas to let students know how they performed in each area. It is the "Placement Result" score that is used for placement purposes. To determine the minimum score necessary to place into particular mathematics or economics courses, students may look at the notes on the GW schedule of classes or visit the math placement exam website.
Once students have completed the ALEKS exam their scores will be sent to GW. These scores will be saved with the rest of the student's test scores for their advisor to view for course placement purposes.

How do students see their ALEKS score?

When students reach the end of the questions, and submit their assessment , a score and a pie chart will ap p ear . The "Placement Result " (overall score) will range from 0 to 100. The system also displays subscores in different math topic areas to let students know how they performed in each area. It is the "Placement Result" score that is used for placement purposes.

How do the Prep Learning Modules work?

The ALEKS Your Knowledge and Prep Learning Modules provide a personalized tutorial based on the types of problems students answered correctly and incorrectly on the previous assessment. Therefore, the learning modules are available only after students have taken ALEKS the first time. Once a student begins a Knowledge and Prep Learning Module they will have access to it for six months. As students answer questions they will see their MyPie fill up, and ALEKS may reassess them from time to time to ensure they have retained the topic information, but this does not count as one of the four total attempts.

Is ALEKS ADA compliant?

Because there is no audio associated with the ALEKS content, ALEKS is fully accessible to those who are partially or profoundly deaf. ALEKS does not rely exclusively on color to convey critical information so it is fully accessible to those that are colorblind. Many students who have low vision or are otherwise visually impaired can use products such as Microsoft Magnifier to fully access ALEKS. Students who are incapable of using both a keyboard and a mouse simultaneously due to physical disabilities similarly have no limitations while using ALEKS. Profoundly blind students can access certain areas of ALEKS through the use of screen reader technology. Students who need to access an ADA compliant version of ALEKS should contact Disability Support Services for assistance.

What does a student do if they need department or technical assistance?

If you experience problems with ALEKS, please contact Professor Murli Gupta in the Math department.
Answers to frequently asked technical questions can be found on the ALEKS support site. Students who need further technical assistance with ALEKS may contact ALEKS support using the customer support form.


Recommended Plan of Study

The department offers recommended course schedules based on ALEKS scores.