Department of Mathematics

Math Placement

Please read all of this information carefully!
If you have any questions, please contact the math placement coordinator:
Rachel Lilley,

***Incoming Spring 2024 students must complete the online ALEKS PPL math placement assessment at least 48 hours prior to attending their advising session.

Students who do not complete their assessment prior to their advising appointment may not be able to be properly advised and registered.  Students who attend in-person orientation and have not completed the ALEKS assessment will need to take the assessment at the end of their orientation session.

Students intending to major/minor in a STEM or business field, should make every effort to complete their online math assessment BY JANUARY 19, 2024***


Why the ALEKS Assessment?

  • All students at SUNY New Paltz are required to have college credit for at least one math course regardless of their intended major. The course(s) you take will depend largely on your major and your skill level. In order to place each student in a mathematics course at an appropriate skill level, we REQUIRE all incoming first-year students to complete the ALEKS PPL assessment.
  • This assessment is strictly for placement purposes. It is used to assign each student a Math Placement Level (MPL). It does not count for a grade and should not be something you stress about.  An accurate assessment of your mathematical skills and abilities will help to ensure your success here at New Paltz.
  •  You should still complete the online ALEKS assessment even if you took AP courses or college courses for credit while you were in high school. If you are bringing in math credits through AP courses or University in High School, those credits my potentially override your ALEKS score.  We will not know until you have them sent to us and we can assess them.  You must still complete the online ALEKS math assessment.

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.

All incoming students will receive a Math Placement Level (MPL) based on their ALEKS PPL assessment and/or any previously taken mathematics courses. 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 120/121 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.

Finding Aleks

Log on to and go to your “To do” list.  Click on “Take the ALEKS PPL, mathematics assessment.”

The assessments are to be done without using any outside resources or assistance to ensure proper placement. This includes NO CALCULATOR!

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 24 hours and working with the tutorial package for at least 3 hours, you can take the assessment again 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 24 hours between the second and third assessment, and you must spend at least 3 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.

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):

All assessments must be completed by the time a student attends orientation. Otherwise, they will be required to stay after orientation and take the assessment on campus. After that time, the assessments will be locked and only the Prep and Learning module will be available.

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 121 - 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


Frequently Asked Questions about ALEKS (FAQs)

No. ALEKS is only for incoming freshmen. 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 you MPL is to retake that course.

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

Log on to and go to your “To do” list.  Click on “Take the ALEKS PPL, mathematics assessment.”

All incoming freshmen must take the ALEKS 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.

No. You must wait 24 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.

Yes, you must spend at least 3 hours in the Prep and Learning Module between assessment 1 and assessment 2, and at least 3 hours in the Prep and Learning Module between assessment 2 and assessment 3.

Yes. You have 2 hours to complete an unproctored placement assessment once it has begun.

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.

No. ALEKS will provide an on-screen calculator if you need one to complete a particular problem. Otherwise, you may not use a calculator.

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.

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.

ALEKS will begin with a brief tutorial before your placement assessment begins.

You will have six months of access from the time that you start using your Prep and Learning Module.

Access to a Prep and Learning Module is included for six months along with up to three placement 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.

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.

You can use the Prep and Learning Module to review and learn, and you may take another placement assessment prior to June 1, 2023 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.

No. You must achieve the minimum placement result to take each corresponding class.

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.

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

If you have questions about math placement at New Paltz, you can contact Rachel Lilley, the Math Placement Coordinator, at or 845-257-3444.