Assessment Testing and Placement
The placement test is a computerized and written assessment test that confirms your readiness to take college-level classes by determining your prior level of achievement in English, Math, and Reading. It is the policy of PSC that students pursuing transfer and all degree programs achieve minimum scores required for entry into courses above the 100 level or complete the necessary developmental coursework.
All new students entering college for the first time are required to take the placement test and meet with an advisor prior to registering for classes. ACT or SAT scores may be used in place of the placement test. Some restrictions apply. For more information, contact the Academic Advising Center at (708) 709-3506 for assistance.
Students are encouraged to do their very best when taking the placement test because the results determine whether placement in a developmental course is required, or whether you can work with your advisor to register immediately for college-level classes.
Should I study for the placement test? Yes. Preparation can save you time and money. While the placement test does not determine if you are admitted to PSC, it does determine whether or not you can take college-level courses, or if you need to complete developmental courses before taking college-level coursework. Preparing yourself for the placement test, by reviewing and taking practice tests, can save you lots of time and money. Based on your placement scores, there are up to two levels of English and one Reading review, and up to three levels of Math review that may be required.
Each developmental course you place into will cost you extra time and money to complete and also uses financial aid eligibility.
PSC reserves the right to change tuition and fees without notice. There are 2 semesters each year, Fall semester (August-December), Spring semester (January-May), and two Summer sessions (June and July). For example, if you needed to take English 098, and Math 090, it would take you one semester to complete the courses. Save yourself time and money, practice and review before you take your placement test. Also remember, financial aid is limited to 90 attempted hours for an associate degree.
The math placement assessment (ALEKS) consists of a first attempt practice assessment, which you can take at home and will not be used for placement. After taking this first attempt, you should take advantage of the personalized Prep and Learning Modules to prepare for your on-campus proctored assessment, which you will take on campus in the PSC testing center. You may opt to take a second practice assessments. The final three will need a proctor password and must be taken on campus. Spending time in the learning modules will help you fill in any knowledge gaps and refresh your memory so that you can increase your placement and also help you succeed in your first math course. Log in to Web Advisor and click on students and “ALEKS Math Test” under Registration now to get started! There is a $15 charge (payable online with a debit or credit card) for the math placement assessment program, which includes five assessments and one-year’s access to the learning modules.
Your first step is to speak with an advisor for placement evaluation. You may be able to place into college-level English based courses with past transcripts or test scores. If your advisor determines you need to take the English placement assessment, you will be directed to Lisa Hansen, Manager, Student Success Center and Testing, firstname.lastname@example.org. She will send you assessment instructions. The English placement assessment may be completed at home at this time.
We strongly suggest you use a laptop or desktop computer to complete the assessment. If you do not have access to the proper computer (we do not recommend using your phone), you may make an appointment to take the assessment on campus. Please email email@example.com to make an appointment.
What do I have to do before I can be placed into a Math class at PSC?
You will want to discuss your degree and career goals with an advisor. While you can be placed using an ACT/SAT score (see below for more information about ACT/SAT scores), we want to make sure you are placing as high as possible, which can save you time on your degree and save you tuition money. Therefore you will want to also take the ALEKS placement test. All of the information about registering for and taking the test is just below this section.
Please note that PSC uses multiple measures to place you correctly
If you only need a Gen Ed Math course for your degree, Math 112 (General Education Math) or Math 115 (General Education Statistics) you can be placed directly into that class if you meet any of the following requirements:
- Appropriate college entrance/high school assessment exam Math score
a. ACT subsection score of 22 or higher in Mathematics
b. SAT Math score of 530
c. PARCC Math score of 4 or 5
- High school cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on an unweighted 4.0 scale with a successful completion of a 4th year of math.
- Completion of a transitional Math class (“Mathematical Literacy”) at the high school level with a grade of “C” or better
- A GED score of 165 or comparable score on other high school equivalency tests.
- Successful completion of an appropriate developmental course in mathematics at another regionally accredited college or university.
Test scores such as ACT/SAT and ALEKS are valid for 18 months from the date of the test.
Additionally, if you place at the level of Math 095 (Intermediate Algebra) by either ACT/SAT or the ALEKS placement test, you have the option of taking Math 112 or Math 115 with an additional one-credit Math 099 course.
Please note that per Board policy F-2, students must have their Math skills assessed for placement by the end of their first semester. It is expected that you will enroll in a Math class by their second semester of enrollment. This is to ensure that you have sufficient time to finish your Math requirements for your degree.
ALEKS PLACEMENT EXAM
In order to take the ALEKS placement exam, you must first register for an ALEKS account. You may do this by logging into your Prairie State College Web Advisor account, clicking on students, clicking on the ALEKS link under registration and following the prompt. There is a $15 charge for five assessments and one-year access to the learning modules. If you need to repurchase ALEKS, the current course code is PYTVW-FAPG3.
If you need help with your web advisor login information please contact our help desk by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
You must first take unproctored assessments at home. Unproctored assessments are practice tests and do not count for placement purposes. You will get a score with a link to a page showing your placement after your first assessment. If you are satisfied with that score and placement, schedule a proctored assessment. If you would like to place into a higher level math class, work in the learning modules before taking your second assessment. We recommend working a minimum of five hours in the learning assessments and use your highest to register for a math class. Email Lisa Hansen at email@example.com to schedule all proctored assessments.
On campus proctored assessments will be offered on a scheduled basis. Upcoming dates include the following:
|Saturday, October 23||9:30 a.m.|
|Tuesday, October 26||4:00 p.m.|
|Wednesday, October 27||4:00 p.m.|
|Thursday, October 28||4:00 p.m.|
|Saturday, October 30||9:30 a.m.|
|Tuesday, November 2||1:00 p.m.|
|Friday, November 5||12:00 p.m.|
|Saturday, November 6||9:30 a.m.|
|Tuesday, November 9||11:00 a.m.|
|Friday, November 12||11:00 a.m.|
|Saturday, November 13||9:30 a.m.|
|Wednesday, November 17||10:00 a.m.|
|Saturday, November 20||9:30 a.m.|
|Tuesday, November 30||10:00 a.m.|
*As time slots fill, additional times throughout the day will be added. If you require a specific/later testing time, please note in your email.
Please realize it is in your best interest to complete the unproctored practice assessments as if you were in a proctored environment. Do not use any outside help when completing the assessment. Do not look up any answers or stop to review concepts during the asessment. Do not use an outside calculator -- only use the onscreen calculator when it is available. You must complete these assessments in one sitting (up to three hours).
- Numerical Skills/ Pre-Algebra, and Algebra Sample Test Questions
- Reading Sample Test Questions
- College Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry Sample Test Questions
- Writing Sample Test Questions
If I have taken the ACT or SAT, do I have to take the placement test? An ACT score of 22+ in reading and a 17+ in English places a student directly into English 101. While students can be placed into a Math class by ACT (refer to our current Placement Test Information Sheet for more information) students are strongly encouraged to take the ALEKS placement test to see if they can place higher than where they would place via ACT; this can save students both time and money on their path to earning their degree.
I'm transferring to PSC from another college. Do I take the placement test? Students who have previously completed a college-level English and/or math course with a "C" or better from an accredited college or university are exempt from the placement test. However, official transcripts and completion of a PSC program evaluation form are required of all transfer students as part of the application process. For Math, this policy only places students into Gen Ed Math (Math 112) or Gen Ed Stats (Math 115). Students wishing to take a Math class on the STEM path (College Algebra or higher) will still need to be placed according to the standard method. Students who took the placement test at another college within the past year may submit an official score report for review. For more information call Alysse (Lisa) Hansen, manager of Student Success Center and testing, at (708) 709-3507. The essay portion may still be required for transfer students with scores from another college.
How soon should I take the placement test? Courses fill up quickly. You are more likely to get your first choice of classes if you complete testing well before the beginning of the term. But, it is important you are aware of the material you will be tested on and you are comfortable with your knowledge based on the expectations of this test and your chosen program of study.
What sections are in the placement test? The placement test is comprised of two sections: Math and English / Reading. You will take the Math and Reading portions on the computer and type a timed essay to determine your English placement.
What is the procedure for course placement?
- Complete an online or in-person admissions application and obtain a student ID number in Enrollment Services. A student ID number is REQUIRED to take the placement test.
- Prepare for the test. Seek free assistance in preparing for the placement test prior to taking the placement test. To prepare for the math placement test, log in to webadvisor, click on “Math Placement Assessment (ALEKS), and follow the steps to take an online practice test, which will create personalized learning modules designed to help you prepare for the placement test that counts! You will pay a $15 fee to take the math placement test.
- Choose a testing date that best fits your schedule. Although the computer portion is untimed, remember the test takes an average student about two hours to complete. Please allow yourself enough time to successfully complete the exam. All sections do not have to be completed in the same day. You may take the placement test over a two-day time frame. However, you will not be able to change your answers submitted in previous sections. Please note, it is important to do your very best on the placement test because this determines your placement into college level courses.
- Bring a photo ID and your PSC student ID number to the test.
What happens after I take the placement test? Within a week your scores will be forwarded to Academic Advising, where you will meet with a member of the advising team to review your scores and select your classes. An appointment is not required. View advising hours. Additional information on placement testing may be obtained by emailing Lisa Hansen, Manager, Student Success Center and Testing, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will I be able to re-take the placement test? Perhaps. However it depends on your program of study. You may take the math placement test up to 5 times with no additional fee. For English, there is a cost of $25.00. For Nursing, Surgical Technology, and Dental Hygiene, the first scores you receive are the only ones considered.
Can I bring friend/children/parents to the placement test?Children and guests are NOT allowed in the placement testing center.
Additional placement dates/times available each month.
- Allow approximately three hours to complete the placement test.
- The placement testing center computers will be shut down fifteen minutes prior to the ending times listed above.