Placement Assessments (ALEKS® and ACCUPLACER®)

Before enrolling in courses at Iowa Central, all first-time, full-time students; all part-time students taking math, English, reading; and/or any students whose program requires it must present assessment scores (from the last 3 years). Iowa Central requires ALEKS®, COMPASS, ACT, ACCUPLACER®, SAT, or Iowa Assessments (junior year) scores so it can guide students to appropriate coursework and to eventual academic success.

ACCUPLACER® Assessment

The ACCUPLACER® Assessments are Iowa Central’s reading and writing (English) placement assessments.

The computerized ACCUPLACER® Reading Comprehension is an untimed test comprised of 20 questions and measures your ability to understand what you read, to identify main ideas, and to make inferences. You need to distinguish between direct statements and secondary or supporting ideas.

The computerized ACCUPLACER® WritePlacer® assessment is 60-minutes in length and will require an examinee to compose a 300-600 word, typed essay. The WritePlacer® test measures your ability to write effectively, which is critical to academic success. Your writing sample will be scored on the basis of how effectively it communicates a whole message to the readers for the stated purpose. Your score is based on your ability to express, organize and support your opinions and ideas, not the position you take on the essay topic. The following characteristics of writing will be considered:

Purpose and Focus The extent to which the writer presents information in a unified and coherent manner, clearly addressing the issue.

Organization and Structure - The extent to which the writer orders and connects ideas.

Development and Support - The extent to which the writer develops and supports ideas.

Sentence Variety and Style - The extent to which the writer crafts sentences and paragraphs demonstrating control of vocabulary, voice, and structure.

Mechanical Conventions - The extent to which the writer expresses ideas using Standard English.

Critical Thinking – The extent to which the writer communicates a point of view and demonstrates reasoned relationships among ideas.

A holistic score will be given at the completion of the essay.

Study materials for the ACCUPLACER® Reading Comprehension can be access from your computer, tablet or smartphone on the free ACCUPLACER® Study App. Study materials for the ACCUPLACER® WritePlacer® can be found here:

ALEKS Assessment

The ALEKS Assessment is Iowa Central’s math placement assessment. If students have not taken any prior math placement assessments, they can take the ALEKS Assessment at any of the Iowa Central centers, free-of-charge. The computerized ALEKS Assessment is not timed and provides a built-in calculator that can be used for some of the problems. The average time for the ALEKS Assessment is 90 minutes. Once you have completed the first assessment, you will have access to an online Prep and Learning Module where you can work through a series of problems specific to your proficient/deficient math subject areas.

Additional ALEKS information can be found in the ALEKS Handout

Things You Should Know About Taking Assessments

  • The ACCUPLACER® and ALEKS® Assessments are given on a drop-in basis at the Fort Dodge Center and by appointment at the Storm Lake and Webster City Centers. 
  • A valid photo ID must be provided (student ID, driver’s license, or passport).
  • All placement scores are valid for 3 years from the start the course you are placed in.
  • The placement assessments can only be given once per day; you must wait 24 hours before reassessing.
  • No student will be allowed to begin an assessment if the full allotted time is not available.
  • A $25 fee is charged to students who wish to have their placement scores sent to another institution. Click here to fill out your Placement Test Score Request Form
  • After you complete the ACCUPLACER® and ALEKS® Assessments, we will interpret your scores for placement into specific Iowa Central courses. See the Mandatory Placement Chart

ALEKS Assessment

  • The ALEKS Assessment is untimed; however, students should plan approximately 90 minutes to complete 30 placement problems.
  • Only the on-screen calculator can be used for the ALEKS Assessment. Some problems will not allow access to the calculator. Students can use scratch paper, provided by the Testing Center.
  • Students may take the ALEKS Assessment up to 5 times, total. After the 5 attempts, students may pay $20 to gain access to another 5 attempts.
    • Between the first and second assessment, students must wait a full 24 hours before retesting.
    • Between assessments 2-5, students must put in a mandatory 5 hours into the Prep and Learning Module before they will be able to take their next assessment. 
  • The ALEKS Assessment must be taken in one sitting.

ACCUPLACER® Assessments

  • Should the need arise, the ACCUPLACER® Assessment may be paused and completed on an arranged date.
  • Students may take the ACCUPLACER® Assessment as many times as they would like, but only once per day.
    • Students who are trying to reassess for the ACCUPLACER® exam are charged $10 per section retake.

*Please click here for the complete Testing Center Policy for Examinees

At The Other Campuses, Call Ahead For Times/Appointments

  • Storm Lake (712) 749-5179
  • Webster City (515) 832-1632

For More Information

Amy Moffitt
Testing Services Coordinator

Testing Center