All incoming freshmen and transfer students entering the College receive a Math Placement Level (MPL) as part of the admissions process. The MPL is determined by previously taken mathematics courses and standardized test scores including New York State Regents exams and SAT/ACT exams. College courses express math prerequisites in terms of the MPL. Students will be notified of the assigned MPL at their freshman or transfer orientation session. Math prerequisites are strictly enforced at New Paltz. Students can raise their MPL by earning C- or better in specific math courses or by taking an optional Mathematics Placement Exam offered by the Math Department.
A grade of C- or better in the following courses will raise a student's MPL to the indicated level (transferred courses and CLEP Exams that are evaluated as equivalent to these courses will also raise the MPL):
MAT 151 will raise a student to MPL 3.
MAT 152 will raise a student to MPL 4.
MAT 181 will raise a student to MPL 5.
MAT 251 will raise a student to MPL 6.
If a student is satisfied with the assigned MPL, they do not need to take an exam. If the student chooses to take a placement exam, the College uses an online program called ALEKS PPL for the optional placement exam. The cost for ALEKS PPL is $25, charged at the time of registration.
To take the placement exam you will need to register with ALEKS through
and take an initial unproctored assessment online by the date posted on the schedule below. After completing this initial assessement, you will receive a report showing your score, what areas you have mastered, and which areas need work. Then the program offers a preparation and learning package which you can use to improve your score. After working with the tutorial package you can take the test again unproctored to see your improvement and you can continue to use the preparation and learning program. Finally, you will sign up to take a proctored exam which will be offered at the beginning of each semester. You must sign up for the proctored exam by the date on the schedule below. The score on the proctored exam will determine the new MPL.
The $25 fee covers the two unproctored exams and the final proctored exam and unlimited use of the tutorial software for six months.
To sign up for the proctored test, you must complete the initial assessment by the posted date and then send an email to Amy Van Pelt with your Banner number and ask to sign up for the exam. You will receive a confirmation notice in your email account with the exact time and location for your testing.
If you choose to use ALEKS, please read all of the following details:
* What is ALEKS PPL?
Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) is a powerful artificial intelligence-based assessment tool that zeroes in on the strengths and weaknesses of a student's mathematical knowledge, reports its findings to the student, and, if necessary, provides the student with a learning environment for bringing this knowledge up to an appropriate level for course placement. The ALEKS Placement Assessment covers material from basic math through precalculus. 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. You will have access to the Prep and Learning Module for six months.
First of all, RELAX. This is an “assessment,” 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.
Students can take the initial ALEKS PPL assessment at home or at any personal computer with Internet access and can work with the Preparation and Learning Module on their own and retake the assessment one more time at home. The final assessment will be a proctored exam scheduled prior to the first day of classes (see schedule for proctored ALEKS Assessment below; students will need to pre-register for a specific time slot). Your final Math Placement Level (MPL) will be determined by the results on the proctored exam.
The score on the proctored ALEKS exam can change your MPL, but it does not give college credit for a course and it does not replace a grade in a previously taken course.
Upon completion of the test, you will see a summary page which includes your math concepts chart and your percentage score. The percentage scores correlate to New Paltz Math Placement Levels as follows (only the score from the proctored exam will be used):
Students should always consult with their advisor to choose course(s) since many majors have specific requirements for mathematics.
Will Assign MPL
Math courses you are eligible to take (you can take courses with prerequisite less than or equal to your MPL)
(Students should always consult with their advisor to choose course(s) since many majors have specific requirements for mathematics.)
0 – 45
Courses at this level do not meet GE or major requirements but do raise MPL to 3
MAT 151 (recommended if going on in liberal or fine arts)
46 – 60
MAT 152 (if going on in math)
MAT 140/240 (for elementary education students only)
MAT 182, MAT 183, MAT 185 (any of these will meet GE math requirement)
61 – 79
MAT 171 (For business majors only)
80 – 100
* Frequently Asked Questions about ALEKS (FAQs)
How do I begin using ALEKS?
Review this entire FAQ page.
Be sure you have paper, pencil, and two hours free.
You will be charged $25 when you register. You will need to have a credit or debit card.
Who has to take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?
For the academic year 2015-16, the ALEKS Assessment is optional. Students choose to take it if they want to try to raise the Math Placement Level that was initially assigned.
Is there a fee for using ALEKS?
Yes. It will cost $25. This covers two unproctored tests, the proctored exam, and six months of use of the Preparation and Learning Module. The fee will be charged at the time you create your account. You will need a credit card or debit card at that time.
Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?
Yes. You may take the test a total of two times in an unproctored setting and then one more time in the proctored setting. 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.
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?
It is recommended that you spend at least three hours in the prep and learning module between assessments.
Are placement assessments timed?
Yes. You have 48 hours to complete an unproctored placement assessment once it has begun. The proctored assessment allows a maximum of two hours.
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 a calculator.
What happens if I do not complete a placement assessment in the allotted time?
You will have to restart the assessment.
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. (Refer to the SUNY New Paltz Policy on Academic Integrity).
How does ALEKS interpret the answer “I don’t know”?
Students may be asked questions on material that is unfamiliar. On such questions, the student should answer, “I don’t know." But for any question that is even slightly familiar to the student, it is important to attempt to answer. “I don’t know” is interpreted by ALEKS to mean that the student has no knowledge of the topic, and this will be reflected in the assessment results. If the student’s best effort is not given, then ALEKS will underestimate their knowledge.
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 months 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?
Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included along with up to three 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. These assessments will not affect your assigned MPL.
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 proctored placement assessment results will be used for course placement.
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 it 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. Take advantage of the targeted review and learning features in ALEKS to get a better grade in your class.
If you have a disabling condition which may interfere with your ability to successfully complete any exam, please contact the Disability Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about math placement at New Paltz, you can contact Amy Van Pelt, the Math Placement Coordinator, at email@example.com