Placement Assessment & Educational Planning | Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, Pennsylvania

Placement Assessment & Educational Planning

New students are invited to schedule their placement assessment and educational planning session as soon as:

  • The Application for Admission is complete. 
  • Westmoreland  receives and evaluates  the following documents as applicable: High school transcript, GED scores, SAT or ACT scores and college transcripts. 
  • The ALEKS PPL Placement test has been completed at least ONE time.

Placement assessment includes review of the following:

  • Evaluation of high school transcripts, GED score reports, college transcripts and SAT/ACT scores.
  • Westmoreland has adopted the ALEKS program to support students in the assessment of their skill level in mathematics. The Admissions team will outline your next steps.

The educational planning session includes:

  • Discussion of the student's life goals, an overview of academic programs and placement into courses based on the above academic criteria
  • Registration for classes in the upcoming semester
  • New students will also be provided important information about the college website, student portal, payment options, college store and campus resources.


  • Students who have an associate or bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university may be exempt from the math placement process upon receipt of college transcripts.
  • Transfer students may also be exempt from the math placement process upon receipt of college transcripts that validate satisfactory completion of prerequisites in mathematics.
  • Students not seeking a degree are required to engage in the math placement process after the completion of 12 credits in order to continue their enrollment.

Preparing for your session

  • Be sure that your high school transcript, GED score, SAT/ACT score report and, if applicable, college transcript is sent to Westmoreland before scheduling your Placement Assessment and Educational Planning Session.
  • Be sure that you have completed the ALEKS assessment at least once before requesting an appointment.
  • Review the most current pogram information for your career path by viewing the College Catalog.

You will be taking your Mathematics Placement Test using the program ALEKS PPL. If you are unhappy with your score, you will be given the opportunity to retake the test up to 3 more times. You will have access to the ALEKS PPL placement test and learning modules for one year from your registration in ALEKS PPL.

Review the most current program information for your career path by viewing the College Catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who needs to take the ALEKS PPL Math Placement? A.  All students who apply to Westmoreland County Community College and need to take a math course for their program, except students considered College Ready according to Westmoreland’s Academic Readiness Policy.
Q. How do I prepare to take the ALEKS PPL Math Placement? A..When you sign in to ALEKS PPL Placement Testing, you will have access to 5 Placement Tests. The first is proctored and you can take it as practice so you know what to expect. We recommend you take it with no other materials, external calculator, or other resources. This will give you the best snapshot of what math you currently know. Then, ALEKS PPL will suggest Learning Modules to help you improve before you take the next proctored ALEKS PPL Placement Test.
Q.  Is there a way to potentially save time and expense? A.  After your practice assessment, use the ALEKS PPL individualized learning modules to work in ALEKS for at least 3 hours. Although we only require 3 hours of work in the ALEKS Modules before you take the proctored ALEKS PPL Placement Test, nationally, students who actively put in 6-8 hours to refresh their math skills move up at least one math course. Spending this little extra time will provide you with an opportunity to save time and money toward graduation! Although the exams cannot be taken with a Chromebook, smartphone, or tablet, the Learning Modules can be accessed on any device!
Q. How do I take a proctored ALEKS PPL Math Placement?
  1. A.  You have two options:
    • You may take your proctored exam at our Youngwood Campus or at one of our Education Centers (Fayette, Indiana, Latrobe, Indiana, Murrysville, or New Kensington). Please, contact Youngwood or the Center Directly to schedule your ALEKS PPL Placement.
    • You may take your proctored exam using Respondus Lockdown Browser with Monitor on any computer (except a Chromebook, smartphone, or tablet) that has a camera, microphone, and speakers (or headphones). You will need to download the Respondus Lockdown Browser and follow all directions for this proctored exam to be used for placement.
Q.  How long will it take? A.  The maximum time limit is 2 hours and 30 minutes, but on average, students take about 1 hour and 17 minutes. You will have no more than 30 questions although they will be different for each student and each test because the test is adaptive to the individual taking it.
Q.  How much will it cost? A.  All 5 ALEKS PPL Placement tests and the learning modules to help you improve are free to Westmoreland students for up to one year.
Q. Will I need to bring anything to the ALEKS PPL proctored placement test? A.  Yes. You will need a photo ID whether taking the proctored test in person or using Respondus Lockdown Browser with Monitor. You will NOT need a calculator as the type of calculator you will need will appear on the screen for questions that require or allow a calculator.  You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided on screen by ALEKS. You may not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by ALEKS. Using outside resources may lead to improper placement and ultimately course failure. Remember, you will be watched in person or recorded via webcam. Not following these rules will cause your proctored results to be invalidated.
Q. What if I don’t score high enough to get into the class I want to take? A.  You may take up to 3 more placement assessments to attempt to change your placement score. However, to make each attempt worthwhile, it is important that you spend time working in your ALEKS Prep and Learning Modules in between placement assessments so that you can improve your skills. In fact, you will not be able to just retake the placement assessment. You must wait 48 hours between placement assessments, and you will have to work in the learning module for at least 5 hours before being permitted to retake the placement assessment. To improve your performance, however, it is recommended you work in the Learning Modules for at least 6 to 8 hours, or more.
Q. Is there a paper and pencil Math Placement test? A.  No. However, if you think you may need accommodations, please call 724-925-4000, extension 3053, to discuss specific needs.
Q.  What do my scores mean? A.  The chart below shows the scores required to test into the math courses offered at Westmoreland.
Q. What do I do after I take the first ALEKS Placement test? A.  Call us at 724 925-6893 or email placementtestingFREEWESTMORELAND to set up an appointment with an advisor.
Q. Where can I get technical help with ALEKS? A. Hours (Eastern Time):

Sunday: 4:00 PM to 1:00 AM

Monday-Thursday: 7:00 AM to 1:00 AM

Friday: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Phone: (800) 258-2374

Email: contact at

ALEKS PPL Score Ranges for Westmoreland County Community College are below. 

0 -13 MTH 050 - Basic Mathematics
14 - 29 MTH 052 - Foundations of Algebra
  MTH 104 - Introduction of Applied Mathematics
  BUS 120 - Mathematics of Business
30 - 45 MTH 100 - Intermediate Algebra
  MTH 108 - Mathematics for the Technologies I*
  MTH 160 - Introduction to Statistics
  MTH 161 - Modern College Mathematics
  MTH 180 - Elements of Mathematics I**
46 - 60 MTH 157 - College Algebra
61 - 75 MTH 158 - Precalculas Mathematics
76 - 100 MTH 172 - Analytical Geometry and Calculus I***

*Students must take MTH 108 before MTH 109 and cannot place into MTH 109.

**Students must take MTH 180 before MTH 185 and cannot place into MTH 185.

***Students are not able to test out of MTH 172 with ALEKS PPL.



Appointments are available by directly calling the Westmoreland location of your choice.   There will be NO walk in placement and assessment sessions available.    

  • Youngwood: 724-925-6893 or email placementtestingFREEWESTMORELAND 
  • Murrysville: 724-327-8090
  • Fayette County: 724-437-3512
  • Indiana County: 724-357-1404
  • Latrobe: 724-925-8473
  • New Kensington: 724-335-8110
  • If you have questions or concerns, please email%20the staff.


Students who require accommodations due to a disability should call 724-925-4000, extension 3053, to discuss specific needs.

Placement Assessment Appointment Checklist

  • Apply to Westmoreland
    • Submit a Westmoreland Application for Admission online. 
    • Submit official high school or GED transcripts.
    • Submit SAT/ACT scores
    • Submit college transcripts, if applicable
    • Take the ALEKS assessment 
  • Schedule your session
    • Schedule the date, time, and location for a Placement Assessment and Educational Planning Session. These are done year round.

      Students who have a documented disability and require accommodations for testing, contact Lauren Eicher, counselor-Disability & Student Behavioral Intervention Services, at 724-925.4000,-ext. 3053 or eicherlaFREEWESTMORELAND.

  • Obtain your Westmoreland student ID card
    • You may arrive about 15-30 minutes early to obtain your Westmoreland Student Photo ID card. Students with appointments at an education center may get their student ID there.

      Please present a current issued photo ID card such as driver’s license, state non-driver’s license photo ID, high school photo ID, other college photo ID, passport, etc.

  • What to bring to the appointment
    • Your Westmoreland student ID card
    • 2 pencils
    • Information on the college & major to which you plan to transfer (if applicable)
    • Your college portal username and password


Important Parent/Guardian information

Parents/guardians are not permitted in the room with pathways advisors during the educational planning/advising session.

In order to help your student better prepare for the educational
planning/advising session, we recommend that you review the following information with your student prior to their visit with a pathways advisor to ensure all questions/concerns are addressed at that time:

  • Learn what to expect and how to prepare for course placement by reviewing this webpage.
  • Review the Placement Assessment Appointment Checklist (see below) and Quick Guide for New Students.
  • Read about his/her chosen academic program in the current College Catalog online.  Students who have not declared an academic program will schedule classes under the Associate of Arts degree program until such time.
  • Log onto the MyWestmoreland Portal and begin exploring the student e-mail account and Student Planning.  
  • Discuss class preferences prior to their visit—days/times, education center, course delivery method (traditional classroom setting, online, blended, hybrid, etc.), types of courses (dependent on placement and program requirements), etc.
  • Make certain the student brings his/her username and password for the portal as well as all questions/concerns that need to be addressed.
  • The student should be prepared to take detailed notes about the information covered with the pathways advisor.