ALEKS - Assessment and Learning

Implementation Strategies

Our success stories encompass a wide variety of implementation models and best practices, from lecture-based to emporium labs to course redesigns. The flexibility of ALEKS made it simple and effective for these schools to improve their student success rates, and they are willing to share their strategies.

Tacoma Community College, WA
2 Year Community College

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a hybrid course.
Purpose: Core Curriculum, Remediation
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra

Valerie Morgan-Krick, Instructor and Mathematics Department Chair
We have developed a class that offers differentiated and individualized instruction via ALEKS. This class addresses the needs of advanced students who need an environment that encourages and rewards their fast-paced advancement, as well as the needs of students who are in dire need of remediation. ALEKS has given us the ability to offer a course that I don't think would otherwise have been possible, which has been a great thing for our college!


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Prior to implementing ALEKS, our students were unable to get the individualized instruction they needed. More advanced students were forced to sit through five-credit courses when all they really needed was a brief refresher before moving on. Conversely, poor performers were in classes that they could not keep up with because we could not offer remediation.

Was ALEKS used in your course with all students or with targeted students?
All students.

Number of students who used ALEKS for the course and term:
Number of sections: 1
Number of students per ALEKS section: 20
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 20

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
My course is 100 percent independent use by my students, with one-on-one help available as needed.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Hours per week: 10


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
We set up courses through ALEKS that correspond with each of our developmental math classes (Arithmetic, Pre-Algebra, Elementary Algebra, and Intermediate Algebra). Students from all skill levels are then placed into our remedial course where they work independently at their appropriate level.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
No. Students are able to choose which topics to cover as well as on what days. They simply need to complete their pie by the end of the four weeks.

Do you integrate a textbook with your course using ALEKS Textbook Integration? Please describe how you set up your chapter completion dates.
No.

How often do you use the ALEKS Instructor Module?
I use the Instructor Module daily throughout the term.

How do you incorporate ALEKS Quizzes into your course?
We use an ALEKS quiz as the final exam for the course.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
My instructional approach is very different in our math center remedial class than in a traditional lecture course setting. One-on-one interaction with students is the most common form of instruction in my remedial course.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
The student progress reports are essential to help students stay on pace to finish their individualized learning plan by the end of the four weeks. This also helps identify those students that are placed at too high of a level, which leads to individual interventions to get the student placed appropriately.


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
ALEKS makes up 100 percent of students' grades.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Students receive an S (Satisfactory) or a U (Unsatisfactory) grade based entirely on completion of their pie and a 70 percent or better grade on their final exam, which is an ALEKS quiz. If they achieve pie completion as well as a passing grade on the exam, they are awarded an S for the course.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
Homework is not assigned as a component of this course.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
We do not require specific amounts of progress, but all students must complete their entire pie in four weeks to achieve an S in the course. Progress varies from student to student, depending upon how much of their pie they have left to complete.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I regularly track student progress using the Individual and Class Detailed Progress Reports. Both allow me to monitor the daily progress of students and to evaluate whether they are meeting the goals of the course.

Do you notice that students who spend more time in ALEKS perform better in the course than those students who spend less time in ALEKS?
It is important to note that the Pre-Algebra students who spend between ten and 20 hours in ALEKS have high success rates (approximately 65 percent), but have comparatively low rates of persistence (40 percent) and success in the next course (approximately 35 percent). Whereas students with more than 20 hours in ALEKS have success and persistence rates comparable to those of classroom students (approximately 55 percent).

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
Since we have only used ALEKS with our remedial courses, it is difficult to find a comparison. However, it is clear that our ALEKS students show similar success rates in subsequent math classes as regular classroom students, proving that ALEKS methodology is effective.


Learning Outcomes

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
We have many students who are successful in our remedial course and enjoy working with ALEKS very much. Some will even continue to use ALEKS after they have completed our specific coursework.


Best Practices

Which ALEKS course product(s) have you used in the past?
Basic Math, Pre-Algebra, Beginning Algebra, Intermediate Algebra