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Idaho State University

ISU switching to new math placement test; Beginning Nov. 30 ALEKS replaces Compass Placement Exam

November 22, 2016

POCATELLO – Beginning Nov. 30, Idaho State University will use the Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) placement exam as its newest and primary assessment tool for placing students into mathematics classes.

ALEKS replaces the Compass Placement Exam, which the University previously used for this purpose and which will be unavailable at the end of 2016.

“The new testing and learning system will place students into the most appropriate math class, improve their retention and should ultimately save them time and money,” said Scott Scholes, ISU associate vice president for enrollment management.

ALEKS will only be required for applicants that do not meet minimum admissions requirements.

ALEKS is a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. The ALEKS system can be so effective in building students’ math skills that it has been incorporated in the teaching of some ISU math classes.

The ALEKS placement is not like the ACT and SAT exams. The traditional standardized tests are numerical measures of achievement or aptitude.  By contrast, the outcome of an ALEKS assessment provides a precise and comprehensive analysis of areas of mastery and areas of deficiency.

  ALEKS is the practical realization of Knowledge Space Theory – the result of ground-breaking research in mathematical cognitive science initiated by Professor Jean-Claude Falmagne at New York University and the University of California, Irvine and Professor Jean-Paul Doignon at the University of Brussels. The core mathematical theory was created between 1983 and 1992 with the financial support of several National Science Foundation grants Falmagne received at NYU and UCI.

For more information on the new ALEKS test, visit the website, or contact Robert Fisher, chair of the ISU Department of Mathematics and Statistics, at 208-282-3664.