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New Student Orientation

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Phone  (850) 599-3869

New Student Orientation
444 Gamble Street
Suite 216
Tallahassee, Florida 32307
Attention FAMU Faculty, Administration and Staff:

The FAMU Department of Mathematics within the College of Science and Technology has implemented a mandatory mathematics placement assessment, Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS), for all incoming freshmen (and transfer students who have no math credits) beginning summer 2015 in order to increase student success in introductory mathematics courses. The information obtained from the assessment will be used to place students in beginning mathematics courses that are aligned with their background and level of preparation. The mathematics placement committee is working in collaboration with several campus units (Admissions, Test Service Bureau, New Student Orientation, Registrar’s Office, and Undergraduate Student Success Center) to facilitate the successful implementation of this new process. Additional information will be distributed to the campus community over the next several weeks.

Please feel free to contact Dr. Lewis Johnson in the College of Science and Technology at 412-5978 or lewis.johnson@famu.edu to address your questions or concerns. 

FAMU Math Placement Student Info and FAQ

Florida A&M University requires an ALEKS mathematics placement assessment to determine readiness for various mathematics courses. The ALEKS placement assessment covers material from Basic Mathematics through Precalculus and will take approximately 90 minutes to complete. Students will be required to take ALEKS in a proctored environment on campus (during New Student Orientation or Welcome Week). Incoming students must pay a housing deposit or new student orientation fees before they receive access to the ALEKS system. After receiving access, students are able to complete practice assessments and a targeted Prep and Learning Module while at home in order to prepare for the on-campus assessment that they must complete when they attend New Student Orientation or Welcome Week.

All incoming freshmen (and transfer students who have no math credits) are strongly encouraged to spend several hours using the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module. Even if you have achieved placement into your desired math course, time spent using the Prep and Learning Module will better prepare you for your upcoming math course.

First of all, RELAX.  ALEKS is an “assessment,” NOT A TEST. The difference is that an assessment is 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.

What is ALEKS?
Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces 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 about math. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics he/she is most ready to learn. As a student works through a tutorial, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained. ALEKS also provides the advantages of one-on-one instruction, 24/7, from virtually any web-based computer.

Who is required to take the ALEKS assessment?
All incoming freshmen, regardless of AP, IB, dual enrollment and CLEP credits, and all incoming transfer students with no college credit in math must take the ALEKS placement assessment. If you are required to take developmental classes in mathematics, you will not take ALEKS for placement until after you complete your developmental course requirements.  However, students who must take the PERT for developmental math placement should take the practice AKEKS assessment and use the prep and learning modules to improve their math skills.

What are the benefits to me?
ALEKS will evaluate your mathematics proficiencies and deficits.  Your ALEKS score, along with your advisor, will assist in placing you in the correct mathematics course for your skill level. Additionally, the prep and learning modules can increase your math preparedness and thus enhance your academic success at FAMU.

When can I take ALEKS?
Starting June 1, incoming students who have either paid a housing deposit or registered for New Student Orientation will receive ALEKS access information. You will be required to take an ALEKS assessment on campus during New Student Orientation or Welcome Week.  This assessment will be conducted in a proctored environment. In order to become more familiar with ALEKS and your math proficiencies, you should take a practice assessment as soon as possible.  If your score on your practice assessment is not satisfactory, you can access the online learning modules to improve your skills.  You will be required to take the ALEKS assessment in a proctored environment.  The proctored ALEKS score you receive will be used for placement. You will not be allowed to register for a math course without a proctored ALEKS score.

Do not wait until the last moment to take the practice assessment; you want to provide yourself with enough time to achieve your own individual satisfactory score. It will give you an opportunity to retake the assessment or access the learning module and refresh your knowledge before taking the proctored assessment when you arrive to campus. Please note: completing a learning module will require about 2-3 weeks.

How can I take a practice assessment and/or get tutorial assistance?

Access to the ALEKS system allows one to take the practice assessment two (2) times, as well as provides access to 6 months of online prep and learning modules. Once a student has paid orientation fees and/or housing deposit, the student will have access to the assessment and learning modules.  A student may take the practice assessment and use the online tutorials without being on campus. FAMU will only use the results of an on-campus proctored ALEKS score for placement.

How much does it cost?
There is no fee to you as a student. For the 2015-2016 academic year, the College of Science and Technology will provide access to ALEKS for all incoming students. 

What other State Universities in Florida are using ALEKS?
Florida State University (FSU), University of Florida (UF), Florida International University (FIU), and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) use ALEKS for math placement.

What do I need to access ALEKS?
ALEKS is web-based. A computer with a modern web browser and Internet access is required. You must have an active FAMU iRattler account and a FAMU email address to access the system http://www.famu.edu/uac. More detailed system requirements are listed at http://www.aleks.com/faqs/technical

How many practice assessments may I take?
You can take up to 2 practice assessments.  The system is set up to require you to spend a minimum of 5 hours working on the online modules between attempts.

Will my ALEKS score appear on my official transcript?
No. Your ALEKS score will only be used by your advisor and the math department for initial math course placement.

Do I have to take ALEKS every time I want to register for a math course?
No.  Your ALEKS score will only be used for your initial math course placement.

What score do I need to take the math class I want?
Your ALEKS score provides us with an indicator of the level of your math preparedness.  The score will help place you in the class that offers you the best chance of success. If you take a class for which you don’t have the required prerequisites and preparation, you will have a hard time passing the course. The ALEKS placement assessment evaluates your knowledge and indicates the class level that you can be successful in.

The table below shows the classes you can register for depending on your score and intended major. You will be able to discuss your preferences with your academic adviser.

ALEKS ScoreCourse Placement
0-29MAT 1033 - Intermediate Algebra
30-60MAC 1105 - College Algebra
MGF 1106 – Liberal Arts Math I
MGF 1107 – Liberal Arts Math II
61-75MAC 1114 - Trigonometry
MAC 1147 - Pre-calculus
MAC 2233 - Business Calculus
76-100MAC 2311 - Calculus I

What if I took ALEKS at another institution?
FAMU requires a proctored ALEKS score. You must take ALEKS in a proctored environment at FAMU during New Student Orientation or Welcome Week.  Please use your previous score as a guide to assess your level of preparation.

What if I need accommodations?
Individuals who need a reasonable accommodation must notify the Test Service Bureau at (850) 599-3333 and the ADA Coordinator at (850) 599-3076 (v), (850) 561-2704 (TDD), a minimum of seven (7) working days in advance.

What are the different assessments or tests I must take before I can register for my math courses?
ALEKS Practice Assessment
The ALEKS Practice Assessment is an un-proctored assessment that students should take at home before arriving for their FAMU New Student Orientation.  The score obtained on the ALEKS Practice Assessment will not be used for college level math placement.

Students who have paid university housing deposit or new student orientation fees will be provided links and sign-on information starting May 2015.  To receive the link and ALEKS sign-on information you must complete the following:

1.    Register for your summer or fall New Student Orientation at https://secure.vzorientation.com/FAMU/ 
2.    Or, place a deposit on your FAMU fall housing at http://www.famu.edu/housing.
3.    Open your FAMU email account. The ALEKS sign-on information will be sent only to your FAMU email address.

On the honor system, students should take the ALEKS Practice Assessment to determine their math preparedness.  Students should plan for about three (3) hours to take the practice assessment.  You can stop and continue the assessment later if you cannot take the entire assessment in one session. 

If the desired score is not obtained, students are advised to proceed with the individualized ALEKS tutorial to improve their math skills.  DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DAY BEFORE YOU COME FOR NEW STUDENT ORIENTATION TO TAKE THE PRACTICE ASSESSMENT AND START THE TUTORIALS.  You should plan to complete the test and to spend as much time as needed to improve your skills, so you may obtain your best possible score on the ALEKS Proctored Assessment.  The tutorials will be available to you for six (6) months and can be used as needed to improve your ALEKS retake score. Additionally, the tutorials can assist you with skill improvement for the mathematics classes in which you wish to enroll.
ALEKS Proctored Assessment
The ALEKS Proctored Assessment will be administered during your New Orientation Session in a secure proctored environment.  ONLY the score obtained during a proctored administration will be used for college level math placement.  Shortly before your orientation session, you will receive information on how to set your appointment for the proctored assessment.

You must register for your math course based on the score you obtain on the ALEKS proctored assessment, even if your major of study requires a higher beginning math course.  Your proctored score on the math placement assessment will be provided to your academic advisor and to your academic department chair.  You will be dropped from your math class if you register for a math course in which you do not have the appropriate FAMU ALEKS score. Please note students can always choose to register for a lower level math course, even if ALEKS places them in a higher math class.

Students who do not obtain the desired ALEKS score during New Student Orientation may retake the ALEKS Proctored Assessment in August 2015.  In order to sit for the retake, students MUST complete at least five (5) hours in the ALEKS individualized tutorials.  Even if an appointment is made, the retake will be blocked if the tutorial requirement is not met.  All retakes must be scheduled and completed by 12:00 noon on Wednesday, August 26, 2015.  It is the student’s responsibility to be on campus and to sit for the retake of the ALEKS Proctored Assessment before that date.

Developmental Mathematics (PERT)
Students not meeting the state mandated math scores on the SAT, ACT, and PERT will retake the PERT during New Student Orientation at FAMU.  If an exempting score is obtained, students may then schedule to take the ALEKS Proctored Assessment for placement in a higher college level math course by Wednesday, August 26, 2015.  Students not obtaining the appropriate PERT score must register for the appropriate developmental math course. 

The developmental requirements must be met BEFORE registering for college level math courses. Please review the “Freshman Developmental Placement Information” sheet that details developmental placement.  Students are encouraged to take the Practice ALEKS test and use the tutorials to help improve their PERT math score.

Contact: For questions regarding developmental placement, contact the Test Service Bureau @ FAMU at (850 599-3333) or famutesting@famu.edu