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Department of Mathematics

Math Placement

Please read all of this information carefully!
If you have any questions, please contact the math placement coordinator:
Amy Van Pelt, vanpelta@newpaltz.edu

**Incoming freshman will have access to the ALEKS PPL assessment beginning February 1, 2018. Assessments must be completed by June 1st in order to insure accurate course placement at summer orientation. 

All incoming freshman will receive a Math Placement Level (MPL) based on their ALEKS PPL assessment. All incoming transfer students will receive a Math Placement Level (MPL) as part of the admissions process. The transfer student MPL is determined by previously taken mathematics courses and, if applicable, standardized test scores including New York State Regents exams and SAT/ACT exams. Students will be notified of their MPL at their freshman or transfer orientation session. Math prerequisites are strictly enforced at SUNY New Paltz. Current students can raise their MPL by earning C- or better in specific math courses.

A student may NOT use ALEKS to avoid re-taking a class he/she has failed at SUNY New Paltz.

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 120 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.

You may NOT use outside resources when completing an ALEKS assessment. Outside resources include: calculators, notes, textbooks, websites, friends, family, etc.

To take the placement exam you will need to go to my.newpaltz.edu and click on the ALEKS PPL link to take an initial unproctored assessment online. After completing this initial assessment, 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 waiting at least 48 hours and working with the tutorial package for at least 3 hours, you can take the assessment again unproctored to see your improvement and you can continue to use the preparation and learning program. If you are still having difficulty reaching your desired MPL, you may take the assessment for a third and final time. You must wait at least 48 hours between the second and third assessment, and you must spend at least 10 additional hours in the remediation/tutorial section. Once both of these criteria are met, you will be able to take the assessment for a third and final time.

All assessments must be completed by June 1st.  After that time, the assessments will be locked and only the Prep and Learning module will be available.

Incoming freshman, 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 ALEKS PPL assessments on any personal computer with Internet access and can work with the Preparation and Learning Module on their own and retake the assessment for a total of three times. The highest of the three scores will determine your MPL.

Upon completion of each assessment, 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 highest score 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 120 (recommended if going on in liberal or fine arts)

MAT 120 - with Supplemental Algebra Workshop (recommended if going on in math, science, engineering or business)

46 – 60


MAT 152 (if going on in math)

MAT 140/240 (for elementary education students only)

MAT 142, MAT 143, MAT 145 (any of these will meet GE math requirement)

61 – 79


MAT 171 (For business majors only)

MAT 181

MAT 241

80 – 100


MAT 251

MAT 260


Frequently Asked Questions about ALEKS (FAQs)

Can I take ALEKS if I didn’t do well in a Math course at SUNY New Paltz and I just want to raise my MPL?

No. ALEKS is only for incoming freshman. If you do not receive a C- or better in a Math course that you took to raise your MPL, the only way to raise your MPL is to retake that course.


Should I still complete the ALEKS assessment if I plan to bring in math credits from University in High School or AP Courses?

Yes. We require all incoming first year students to complete an ALEKS assessment.


How do I begin using ALEKS? 

Review this entire FAQ page. Be sure you have paper, pencil, and two hours free.

Who has to take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

All incoming freshman must take the ALEKS assessment.

Can I retake the ALEKS Placement Assessment?

Yes. You may take the assessment a total of three times in an unproctored setting. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend the required amount of 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?

No. 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, you must spend at least 3 hours in the Prep and Learning Module between assessment 1 and assessment 2, and you must spend at least 10 hours in the Prep and Learning Module between assessment 2 and assessment 3.


Are placement assessments timed?

Yes. You have 24 hours to complete an unproctored 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?

No. 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?

No. 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, calculators 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). The Math Department reserves the right to require any student to take a proctored paper exam at the beginning of the semester to ensure proper placement.


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 assessment 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 for six months 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 the Prep and Learning Module to review and learn, and you may take another placement assessment prior to June 1st to improve your placement result. Do not wait until the last minute to complete your initial assessment or you may not have time to complete another one if you are unhappy with your results.


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! Contact your advisor for any changes to your class schedule. 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.


Where can I get help with ALEKS?

Read the Frequently Asked Questions portion of the ALEKS website.

If you have a disabling condition which may interfere with your ability to successfully complete any exam, please contact the Disability Resource Center at drc@newpaltz.edu.

If you have questions about math placement at New Paltz, you can contact Amy Van Pelt, the Math Placement Coordinator, at vanpelta@newpaltz.edu or 845-257-3531.