ALEKS is a mathematics placement option available to UNT students for placement into mathematics courses. ALEKS will be most useful to new UNT students in degree programs in Mathematics, Science, Engineering, Economics (BS), and students who plan to take science/engineering calculus (Math 1710). If you are a continuing UNT student who has already taken a mathematics course at UNT, you will usually want to enroll in a mathematics course in consultation with your advisor based on how you did in your previous mathematics course. If you choose the ALEKS placement option, you will take the ALEKS placement over the internet at home (or any other location convenient to you). A webcam is required for ALEKS, so you must have access to a computer with a webcam in order to make use of ALEKS online placement. If you have your own "plug-and-play" USB webcam (a webcam that will work without the installation of any special drivers), then ALEKS online placement can be taken in some UNT student computer labs; you must choose a computer lab that has "Respondus Lockdown Browser" installed on the computers in the lab. After signing in to ALEKS, ALEKS will give you an initial assessment and tell you what skills you have mastered and what skills you need to work on. It will then allow you to work over a six week period to review your mathematics skills and possibly improve your placement level. In order to participate in ALEKS online placement, you must first purchase an ALEKS access code and access to Respondus Monitor for a cost of about $40; the exact price is subject to change and not determined by UNT. UNT also offers free mathematics placement, but unlike ALEKS, the free mathematics placement does not help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, nor does it help you improve your placement level. Although $40 might seem like a high fee, if you take full advantage of the six weeks of instruction that is included in the fee and succeed in increasing your mathematics placement, the tuition and fees you will save by not having to enroll in a lower-level mathematics course make the ALEKS fee a good investment. However, ALEKS online placement is likely to only be worth the investment if you are willing to put in the time and effort needed to improve your mathematics preparation over the six-week instruction period included in the price. If you do not have the time or are not willing to put-in significant effort, you are probably better off just taking the free math placement exam included with your new student orientation.
Note: ALEKS online placement cannot be used to become TSI complete in math. If you are not yet TSI complete in math, you should consult with the learning center before attempting ALEKS online placement.
What if I already have college credit for calculus or precalculus?
If you already have college credit for calculus or precalculus as a result of AP credit, IB, dual credit, or other transfer credit, then you do NOT need to take ALEKS online placement.
Enrolling in ALEKS Online Placement for Summer or Fall 2020 Registration
Warning! Do NOT use these courses if you plan to start at UNT in Spring 2021 or later. ALEKS placement for Spring 2021 will begin in late October of 2020.
To participate in ALEKS placement, you must have access to a computer with a Webcam and when prompted, you will need to download a special web browser called Respondus Lockdown Browser as well as purchase a license for Respondus Monitor. Some student computer labs on the UNT campus have Respondus Lockdown Browser already installed.
To enroll in ALEKS online placement to determine your mathematics placement for a UNT mathematics course you plan to take in SUMMER or FALL 2020, visit
and enter the course code depending on which option best fits your needs:
Course Code & Required Mastery Percentage
If you are a business student or BA economics major and Math 1190 (business calculus) is the highest-level math course you need for your degree program, you may choose this option. College of Education majors may also use the option for placement into Math 1350; College of Education majors should always consult their advisors first. This code should not be used by science, engineering, mathematics, or BS Economics majors.
If you plan to take math/science/engineering calculus (Math 1710), you should choose this option. If you are a science, engineering, mathematics, or a BS Economics major, you should use this code.
Enter your NAME, E-MAIL address, and UNT ID NUMBER when you register
As you work through the registration screens, you will be asked to purchase a 20-digit access code online at a cost of about $25-30. When you register, be sure that you
- enter your name the same way that it appears in your UNT record, and
enter your 8-digit
UNT ID number(not your EUID) [you can look up your 8-digit UNT ID number by logging in to ams.unt.edu].
Before you take your first scheduled knowledge check, you will be asked to download and install the Respondus Lockdown Browser and purchase a license for Respondus Monintor. This will result in an additional charge of around $10-15.
Taking Your Initial ALEKS Assessment
After completing the sign-up process, ALEKS will provide you with a brief tutorial on how to use the system, and it will give you an initial assessment to help determine what skills you already know and what skills you need to review prior to enrolling in calculus.
Improving Upon Your Initial Assessment
After completing your initial ALEKS assessment, ALEKS will provide you instruction designed to help you review mathematical skills that are improtant for success in calculus tailored to your specific need. You will see an ALEKS pie chart like this:
You should work through the topics shown in your pie chart clockwise beginning with Real Numbers, then moving to Equations and Inequalities, and so forth, until you reach Geometry (for business calculus placement) or Trigonometry (for science/engineering calculus placement). ALEKS will ask you to take a new assessment, called a "Scheduled Knowledge Check," three times per week to give you a chance to improve your placement level. You do NOT need to take every scheduled knowledge check; there is not penalty for skipping one of the scheduled knowledge checks, but only the work on the scheduled knowledge checks counts toward placment. Placement is determined by your overall ALEKS Mastery %, and NOT your score on any single knowledge check. You can continue to work for up to six weeks or until THURSDAY, 08/27/20, whichever comes first.
Checking your progress in ALEKS
Again, placement is determined by your overall MASTERY percentage, not any particular assessment score. Unfortunately, UNT's ALEKS setup does not make this clear. When you view your assignments in ALEKS, it will look something like the below:
The 87% is deceptive. Although this is the percentage obtained on the assessment, it is NOT the mastery precentage, which determines placement. If you click on the 87%, you see the ALEKS progress report:
Here, we see that the mastery percentage is 61%, so we still have more work to do if we want to get to 70%.
Even very prepared students will usually need to take several of the scheduled "knowledge checks" to get a mastery percentage above 70%. ALEKS is not the right placement method for students looking to only take a single placement test. It is for students willing to put in signficant time and effort. ALEKS is most useful if it is used as intended. The idea is in between each schedule knowledge check, you will spend 5-10 hours working through the ALEKS lessons. If you are only taking the knowledge checks without working through the lessons & exercises in between, you are not getting the most out of ALEKS.
New Students: It is best to start BEFORE You Attend Orientation
If you are a new UNT student and plan to participate in ALEKS online placement, the best time to work through the ALEKS system is six weeks before your scheduled orientation. If you have reviewed your math before your scheduled new student orientation, you will be able to get the best possible advising during your on-campus orientation and will get the best choice of available classes. However, you may participate in ALEKS online placement during any six week period up until the first week of class.
UNT Students Demonstrate Integrity
Because UNT students are expected to behave ethically at all times, we trust you to work through the ALEKS online placement program with the integrity expected from UNT students. You should do all the work in ALEKS yourself without making use of books or web searches during the assessment portions of the program. You should not use calculators other than the calculator provided to you within the ALEKS system when needed. Remember, if you try to cheat the math placement system, you may end up enrolling in a class for which you are not prepared and therefore likely to fail. Be honest and make the most of this opportunity. Students will be monitored via webcam as they take their assessments. Students failing to demonstrate integrity during an assessment will have their placement results cancelled.
Need More Information?
Full detailed information about ALEKS and its use can be found in the ALEKS User's Guide for Higher Education Mathematics.