ALEKS - Assessment and Learning

General

Registration and Access

How do I access ALEKS?
Why does ALEKS use personal student subscriptions?
How do I register with ALEKS? How do I use my ALEKS Course Code to register in a particular class?
How do I find out what my Course Code is?
Why do I need to take a tutorial to use ALEKS?
Can my students use the "Back" and "Forward" buttons on their browsers while in ALEKS?

Login Name and Password

I forgot my password. How do I retrieve it?
I forgot my ALEKS Login Name. How do I retrieve it?

Knowledge Checks

What is an ALEKS Knowledge Check?
Why does ALEKS periodically give me new Knowledge Checks?
In a new Knowledge Check, why must I review a topic I have already mastered?
What is the function of Knowledge Checks in ALEKS?

Learning Path

What is the ALEKS Learning Path?
What is the Topic Carousel and how do I use it?
How many correct answers are needed to master a topic?
Why doesn't ALEKS always allow me to study whatever topic I want to?
What is Open Pie?
How do I review topics I've already learned in ALEKS?
How should I use explanations in ALEKS?
Why are some topics in the Topic Carousel locked?

Timeline and ALEKS Pie

What is the ALEKS Pie?
What is the difference between Mastered and Learned Topics?
How do I access other topics in my Pie?
Why did I lose topics from my Pie after a Knowledge Check?
What is the Timeline?

Instructors

What is an ALEKS course product upgrade?
When I request or schedule an assessment for my class, I have a choice between "Comprehensive" and "Progress" assessment. What is the difference?
What is a "Goal Completion" assessment?
What is the normal rate of progress for students in ALEKS?

Return to FAQs or contact Customer Support for further assistance.

You can access ALEKS on the Internet from virtually any computer. All of your data is kept on ALEKS Corporation's servers.

ALEKS is an individualized system for math learning. The individualized nature of ALEKS is not cosmetic; it is the principle around which ALEKS was designed, and the key to its unique effectiveness. Your students' accounts in ALEKS contain records of their assessments and learning progress, along with other kinds of information used to support their success. It does not make sense for any student to use a different student's account; it will not help them, and may produce frustration. Thus, when a student registers in ALEKS, the account is theirs and cannot be transferred. Even after a short period of time using ALEKS in a regular way, the student will receive great educational value deriving from the carefully individualized nature of the ALEKS environment.

To register with ALEKS and obtain a student account, begin by clicking on the link marked SIGN UP NOW link on the ALEKS home page. The next page will offer you a choice of registering for ALEKS use in a class or registering to use ALEKS independently. Please be sure that you choose the correct one.

Using ALEKS with a class. If you are using ALEKS as part of the course requirements for a class in any educational institution, or if you have a teacher or instructor who is involved in your use of ALEKS, you must use the LEFT-HAND option. To do this you must have a 10-character course code provided by your teacher, instructor, or institution. The 10-character course code places you in the correct class for your teacher, instructor or institution. If you do not have the 10-character course code, obtain it from your instructor first before proceeding to register with ALEKS.

Using ALEKS on your own. If you are using ALEKS independently, just to further your learning or to support your work in a class but without any involvement by the teacher or instructor, use the RIGHT-HAND option. To do this you must have credit card information to enter in the system. The account that you create in this way will be private, and cannot be moved or enrolled in any school, college, or university account, or viewed by any instructor.

Next, you will be prompted for other information as part of the registration process. In some cases, when using ALEKS with a class, you may need to wait for authorization by your instructor. Once registration is complete, you will be given your ALEKS Login Name and Password. Your Password can be changed now or at any later time, if you wish to do so. Please keep records of your ALEKS Login Name and Password, as you will need them to access your ALEKS account.

In most cases, to register to use ALEKS with your class, you will need a 10-character Course Code. Your instructor will provide you with this code.

The ALEKS Tools Tutorial is a brief, interactive training program that teaches you to use some of the basic ALEKS answer input tools, or Answer Editor. Although the Answer Editor is easy to use, the Tutorial will make sure you are proficient with it before using ALEKS.

The "Back" and "Forward" browser buttons (or the corresponding arrows) should not be used in an ALEKS student account. Only the navigation buttons built into ALEKS should be used.

To retrieve your ALEKS Password, contact ALEKS Customer Support.

To retrieve your ALEKS Login Name, contact ALEKS Customer Support.

The purpose of an ALEKS Knowledge Check is to determine your current Knowledge State in a particular subject, meaning what you know, what you don’t know, and what you are ready to learn next. When you take a Knowledge Check, ALEKS will ask you approximately 15 to 35 questions. During the Knowledge Check, you will not be told whether your answers are correct or incorrect. If you don't know how to answer a question, do not guess. Instead, click on the "I Don't Know" button, which appears below each question.

You will always be given an Initial Knowledge Check when you first register with ALEKS. You will also be given Progress Knowledge Checks automatically at regular intervals while using ALEKS, or when a Knowledge Check is scheduled by your instructor.

ALEKS will periodically reassess you to confirm retention of recently learned topics as you progress through a course. These Knowledge Checks may occur at regular intervals, or after the completion or due date of an Objective.

The results of these Knowledge Checks may indicate the need to further review topics previously deemed "mastered." These topics, and perhaps others that depend upon them, are then returned to the Topic Carousel for additional practice. The ALEKS assessment mechanism ensures that you not only learn new concepts, but also retain that knowledge.

If you demonstrate mastery of a particular topic in a Knowledge Check, ALEKS may expect you to demonstrate continued mastery of that topic in subsequent Knowledge Checks.

If you seem to need review on any topics, and perhaps others that depend upon them, ALEKS will return these topics to the Topic Carousel under Needs More Practice.

For this reason, you should always try to do your best on every assessment. Only answer "I Don't Know" to problems you truly do not know how to do. If you believe you know how to work through a problem, you should try to answer it.

ALEKS uses a powerful integration of assessment and learning, and Knowledge Checks are essential to this process. Learning is individually guided on the basis of accurate, qualitative assessment results from Knowledge Checks. Students are given an Initial Knowledge Check to determine a starting point, or baseline, for their learning. Additional Progress Knowledge Checks are given periodically to check retention of recently learned material. After a Knowledge Check is completed, students will often need to briefly work through some topics that were learned previously so that their knowledge remains firm as a basis for further progress.

In the Learning Path, you are able to practice and eventually master specific skills in a subject. If you successfully solve a series of problems of the same type, ALEKS will add this problem type, or "topic," to your Knowledge State or "ALEKS Pie".

While in the Learning Path, ALEKS will provide explanation pages that include worked examples, definitions, access to a comprehensive mathematics dictionary, and immediate feedback on your answers.

If you are not able to master a topic after repeated attempts, ALEKS will direct you back to your Learning Path, where you can choose a different topic to work on. If you wish to change topics, you can click on the pull-down arrow at the top-left of your ALEKS screen and choose another topic from the Topic Carousel.

The Topic Carousel is where you can choose a topic to work on. It can be accessed after selecting "Continue My Path" by clicking on the down arrow in the upper left corner of your screen. Each topic will be displayed as a "card" in the Topic Carousel.

Topics will be considered learned after several consecutive correct answers are submitted. You can change the topic you are working on at any time by selecting a new topic card from the Topic Carousel. Changing topics will not cause you to lose progress for previously submitted answers.

You can filter which topics are displayed in the Topic Carousel by clicking on "Filters" in the upper right corner of your screen. The Filter option allows you to control which topics are displayed in your Carousel, such as sorting by difficulty, Objective, Pie Slice, and Ready to Learn. It also allows you to show previously learned topics should you wish to review them.

Mastery of problems is based on a point system: one point added for a correct answer, two points added for two correct in a row without using the Explanation page, and one point subtracted for an incorrect answer. The number of points cannot go below zero. A progress bar is displayed in each topic “card” showing how many points you have earned for the current topic, and is also shown in the upper right corner of the Learning Page.

ALEKS guides you through the specific curriculum. After ALEKS assesses your current Knowledge State and your goal, it will determine which topics you are ready to learn next. Other topics may not be available to you because ALEKS has determined that you're not yet ready to learn them. ALEKS tries to ensure that you are only learning the topics for which you have demonstrated readiness.

When a student completes an objective before its due date (and completes the corresponding completion assessment if one has been scheduled), the student will move into an Open Pie. In Open Pie, ALEKS will offer the student ANY topic from the course that she’s ready to learn – regardless of which objective the topic comes from. When the current objective’s due date expires, the student will be locked into the next objective, and ALEKS will only allow the student to learn the material found in that specific objective.

The purpose of the Open Pie is to allow students who finish an objective early to work ahead; not only on the next objective, but on any topics they might be ready to learn (including topics from previous objectives that might have been added back into their pie because of a Knowledge Check).

There are two ways that review is provided in ALEKS: one method is through Knowledge Checks, and the other is by reviewing topics in the Topic Carousel.

At regular intervals throughout your progress in ALEKS, there will be automatic reassessments of your knowledge. The purpose of a Knowledge Check is to assess your retention of what you have learned, and to require review of any material where reinforcement is needed. If you see your mastery reduced after a Knowledge Check, the reason is that you need review on some of the previously-learned material.

To review topics in the Topic Carousel, while in your learning path click on the downward arrow in the upper left to access the topic cards, click on the Filters pull-down arrow in the upper right, then select the Review option to display review topics.

Explanations in ALEKS are different from what you will find in most textbooks, because they are always the step-by-step solutions of particular problems. They are designed for use when you are working on a particular problem and get stuck, or make a mistake. When you refer to an ALEKS explanation for help with a problem that you are working on, you can quickly compare it with the steps you followed and find where the mistake or misunderstanding occurred. You can then go back and try again with a new problem and a better understanding of the method you should use to solve it. Note that ALEKS is focused on **active** learning. It is not necessary for you to read the explanation before beginning to work on problems for a new topic; you can do that if you prefer, but most of the time you will know enough about the new topic to attempt it right away, and then go to the explanation for support and help as needed. Please note as well that the explanations contain links to the definition of key terms, and sometimes also "Quick Notes" that expand on the more interesting or important steps in the solution of the problem.

Using ALEKS with a school institution may also show the explanation when you first encounter a topic by using an example problem. This "Learning page" provides the same step-by-step explanation to first familiarize you with the concept you are about to learn by using example values.

This occurs when there are topics that you are not “Ready to Learn” yet. These topics will be locked until the necessary prerequisite topics are learned. For example, in order to learn addition of two-digit numbers with carry, you might have to first learn addition of two-digit numbers without carry and nothing else.

A lock icon will appear in the topic card of the Topic Carousel to distinguish the topics that cannot be accessed. For this reason, your Pie may show that you have mastered only 8 out of 10 concepts for a particular slice of the pie (a particular part of the curriculum), but the Pie says you have no concepts available from that slice to work on. This means that the concepts left to master have prerequisites in other areas of the curriculum that you must master first. Keep working in the other slices, and eventually the concepts in that slice will become unlocked.

The ALEKS Pie allows you to see your overall progress toward completion of the class. Slices represent topic categories. Mastered, learned, and remaining topics are shown in different colors within each slice.

Each pie slice is color-coded to match the list next to the ALEKS Pie. The darker color in the slice represents topics mastered, the lighter color represents topics learned, and the outer space without color represents the topics remaining to be learned and mastered.

You can view your progress in real time by selecting a pie slice. The area to the right is a legend that displays the slice name and the number of topics mastered, learned, and remaining in each category for the slice selected.

"Mastered" refers to the number of topics a student has demonstrated mastery of in a Knowledge Check.

"Learned" is the number of topics that a student has practiced successfully in the Learning Path but has not yet been assessed on through a Knowledge Check.

"Remaining" is the number of topics the student has left to learn.

The number in the middle of the ALEKS Pie is a counter that represents the total number of topics a student has mastered plus learned.

In the Learning Path, you can access the Topic Carousel by selecting the downward arrow tab in the upper left corner of the page.

Each topic from your Pie will have a unique "card" in the carousel that includes the name of the topic, the corresponding Pie Slice, as well as some additional information. You can choose to work on other topics by selecting a new topic card from the Topic Carousel. Note that some topics may be locked until you learn the necessary prerequisite topics first.

ALEKS uses Knowledge Checks to determine what you currently know, what you don’t know, and what you are ready to learn next. If you answered "I don't know" or answered a problem incorrectly, there is a chance that ALEKS will return topics to your Pie for more practice.

The Timeline graphs your progress and growth over time, and will help you understand how to achieve your learning goals and reach milestones. You can use the Timeline to view what you worked on in the past, what’s ahead, and when topics are due next so that you can plan your class work accordingly. As you learn or lose topics, the Timeline is updated with real-time information.

ALEKS course products, such as Middle School Math 3 or Algebra 2, are continually monitored and analyzed for ways that they can be improved. Improvements to these course products may be intended to make your students' progress smoother and more efficient, to enhance compatibility with textbooks or state standards, or to increase the value of the product in a variety of other ways. Many of these improvements do not disrupt the use of the product in any way and do not require any action on the user's part. Others may require an entirely new version of the course product. When a new version is required, we announce that an "upgrade" of the course product is available.

New versions or "upgrades" of ALEKS course products are free of charge. Normally they are announced by email messages or by bulletins, and the user is encouraged to schedule the upgrade at a convenient time. The upgrade can be scheduled by contacting ALEKS Customer Support and telling us what date you would like it to occur. The upgrade affects all courses (past and present) at your school or campus that use this course product, so the decision of when to upgrade should be taken by the faculty as a group. Once an upgrade has been scheduled, it will take place at midnight on the date specified. Upgrades cannot be reversed.

If you do not schedule the upgrade, it will take place automatically at a "default" date given in the original announcement. The default date is chosen at a time when most users are on vacation and between terms.

Upgrades to course products may alter the topics included in a course, and therefore modify the ALEKS Pie used to show student and class progress. Once a class is upgraded, all reports for that course will be modified in accordance with the new coverage. Students may need to take a new assessment after the upgrade. For these reasons, it is usually preferable not to schedule an upgrade while a term is in session and students are still working to complete their courses. Also, any previous customization to courses may be modified, and should be reviewed after the upgrade to be sure that they still meet your needs. We are happy to assist with this.

There are two types of assessments in ALEKS. A Progress assessment tends to focus on the student's recent learning history. It is slightly shorter than a Comprehensive assessment, and is intended mainly to check the students' retention of material recently learned. A Comprehensive assessment ranges more broadly over the content of the entire course. It is slightly longer than a Progress assessment, and is intended to check the students' knowledge or retention of material throughout the course. A Comprehensive assessment is appropriate, for example, to use as a final exam or practice final.

A Goal Completion assessment is triggered automatically in ALEKS the first time a student fills in her Pie completely. Often, the student will score less than 100% on the Goal Completion assessment; when this happens, the student can fill in her pie chart again and, in this way, gain additional reinforcement on the most advanced topics of the course. The second time that the student fills in the pie chart, there will not be a Goal Completion assessment; if additional assessments are desired these can be assigned by the instructor.

Students vary widely in their rate of progress, and it is not possible to say what is normal. It is unlikely that any student would not be able to complete two topics in ALEKS in an hour; some might be able to complete as many as ten, especially if the material is in some way familiar to them. Focusing the students on their ALEKS work by rewarding them for topics mastered within a class period can have a marked positive effect on the rate of mastery.