In your ALEKS pie, your progress in each main topic is displayed as a color-coded wedge: the size of the gray portion of the wedge indicates the percentage of material included in the topic that you haven't studied yet in your Module; the translucent (lighter-colored) portion indicated the percentage of material that you've learned, but not yet mastered; the solid-colored portion indicates the percentage of material that you've mastered. The goal is to fill your pie with solid color!
You've learned a topic when you can solve problems if you know what topic you're working with. You may need to see an example or two before you can solve problems on your own. This is where everyone starts, but your new or recently recaptured knowledge may be fragile and you might not yet be able to recognize when to use it.
As your work in your Learning Module, you'll learn new material, topic by topic. ALEKS decides that you've learned a topic when you can solve a few problems based on that material without making mistakes. Your Progress Indicator shows you how close you are to convincing ALEKS that you've learned a topic. The number of problems you need to solve depends on ALEKS' estimate of your current knowledge and the number of mistakes you've made in earlier problems. See pages 17–23 in the ALEKS PPL Learning Module User Manual for a detailed description—including several examples—of the Progress Indicator.
You've mastered a topic when you can recognize it without having it pointed out to you, reliably solve problems without following examples, and retain your knowledge of the topic over extended periods of time. Mastery is what really matters in the long run. Mastered concepts and skills are the ones you'll be able to use in your future coursework and career.
In your initial placement assessment, you demonstrated your mastery of a large body of mathematics—you didn't have any advance information about the problems, and you successfully selected the right techniques and knowledge to use in solving those problems.
As your work in your Learning Module, Knowledge Checks will assess your mastery of the topics you've learned.