Skip to main content

Mathematics Placement Process

The Mathematics Placement Processfor students who enroll in mathematics courses that begin January, 2017 or later.

Video explaining the ALEKS Placement Process

ALEKS-PPL is a resource provided to you by Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC).  The system allows you to both determine your current skill level and gives online training to improve your mathematical skills.  Used properly, ALEKS-PPL will set you on the path to success in your mathematics courses at GRCC. 

If you are:

  1. an incoming student who will need to take a math course at GRCC in the next 18 months, or
  2. a current student who has not successfully completed the prerequisite to the mathematics course you wish to enroll within 12 months of the course start date,

you must take the math placement assessment before you enroll into a mathematics course.  More information about ALEKS-PPL.    

What is ALEKS?

Many of our math classes are offered using the online computer program ALEKS. It allows a student to work at their own pace and advance through the class as you master the material.

Many classes have an on-campus component with classroom teaching that supplements the individual learning. Some classes are offered in a hybrid format, which means that students do some work at home on their own and some work on campus. And some classes are offered entirely online, except for testing which takes place on campus at the Assessment Center.

You can see a sample of ALEKS by going to the site ALEKS Trial.

ALEKS is also used for our Placement Testing which must be taken to enroll in a math class at GRCC if you haven't taken the pre-requisite class recently.

Tips for taking the ALEKS Placement test

  1. Take it early. Take the ALEKS-PPL math placement early (GRCC recommends 6 months before your enrollment date but at least one week prior to your enrollment date so you may have time to reassess your knowledge if necessary). After taking the placement, you can use the online learning modules to refresh and improve your skills. Early assessment will give you time to make extensive use of the learning modules. 
  2. Outside resources are not allowed!  Do not use any outside resources (books, notes, websites, other people) to assist you when you take the math assessment. This resource for your math success relies on an accurate assessment of your current skills. If a problem allows use of a calculator, one will be provided online, so there is no need for you to use anything but a pencil and scratch paper.  
  3. Use learning modules to improve.   Use the online learning modules to improve your skills.   After using the Course Placement Chart to find your placement, enter the learning module suggested by ALEKS-PPL.  Students who actively use the learning modules have a greater chance of success in their math course. Students who actively use the learning modules and reassess their knowledge have a greater chance of placing into the highest course in which the student is able to succeed.  
  4. Relax!  If desired, you may re-take the assessment.  You can take the assessment a total of 5 times.

What to Expect while taking ALEKS-PPL

  • ALEKS-PPL is a resource that will help you succeed in mathematics at GRCC.  So seriously, relax.  Breath.   The assessment portion is designed to assess your current skill level, while the learning modules are there to help you improve. 
  • All you need is scratch paper and a pencil.  You will be given a short tutorial on how to enter in mathematical symbols and graphs, since the assessment is not multiple choice.  The test takes on average 60-90 minutes to complete.  Your answers determine the next questions, so do your best.
  • Use the “I don’t know” selection rather than guessing if you really do not know how to work a problem, so that the system knows what questions to ask next. 
  • For most questions, a calculator is not allowed. If a calculator is allowed for a question, you will be given access to an online calculator.
  • Do not get help on the assessment from any resources, including books, notes, websites, or other people. There is no benefit to using outside assistance.   You would likely be placed into a course you cannot pass, which will end up being costly and a waste of your time.  Moreover, it may delay your graduation.
  • GRCC students use the ALEKS-PPL assessment and learning modules for nearly every math placement. The assessment, when done honestly, helps GRCC students find the correct math placement, which gives them the greatest chance of success in math.  So let’s get you started on your path to success! 

Where can I go for help with math?

GRCC offers many opportunities for getting extra help with math.  If you are currently a math student you can seek help from your instructor during their on campus and/or online office hours.

There are also many sources available for individual or group tutoring.

How can I get more information about what math class I should take next?

You can get help at any time via e-mail and periodically at scheduled events on campus as well as by consulting your current math professor if you are taking a class now. See the Math Advising web page for more information on email advising.

Where is the Math Department/ Math Department Secretary's office?

The math department offices are located on the 2nd floor of College Park Plaza, which is the brown brick building at the corner of Lyon and Division. You can get there via the walkway from the northwest corner of the 1st floor of Cook Hall. The Math Department’s Support Professional’s office is located in 226 College Park Plaza.