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.

College of the Marshall Islands, Marshall Islands
2 Year Community College

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a traditional course without a textbook.
Purpose: Core Curriculum
ALEKS Course: Basic Math

Thanh Cao, Professor
ALEKS has set the standard for educational software in mathematics. Since modifying and improving a software program is more feasible than training educators to be good teachers, I think that ALEKS is essential for our struggle to improve math education. I have used ALEKS for four years at Citrus College and one year at College of the Marshall Islands. After two weeks of studying with ALEKS, the number of students who were not interested in learning math dropped from 95 percent to five percent.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Students not being interested in learning math is a challenge we face.

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: 2
Number of students per ALEKS section: 18
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 36

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
Students study with ALEKS exclusively. I provide clarification when students do not understand ALEKS' explanation in the Learning Mode.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Hours per week: 1


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
I have replaced my course curriculum with ALEKS.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
No.

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 a few times throughout the term.

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
I have incorporated ALEKS homework assignments in conjunction with Intermediate Objectives.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I use ALEKS exclusively in my instruction.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I focus my instruction on the ALEKS homework and assessment reports at the end of each Intermediate Objective.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I use only ALEKS in my grading system.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
ALEKS is assigned to my students as all of their homework responsibilities.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
No.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I use the homework and assessment reports at the end of each Intermediate Objective to track student progress in ALEKS.

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?
Yes.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
I attribute my students' improved performance to ALEKS' methodology and the mechanical repetition of the software in providing explanations to students who have problems with learning retention.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
After two weeks of studying with ALEKS, the number of students who were not interested in learning math dropped from 95 percent to five percent.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Students are confident and happy about their progress in ALEKS.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
When first implementing ALEKS, I worried about how to digest all of the instructions in the ALEKS User Guide. However, I quickly realized that most of the ALEKS tools are self-explanatory.

Which ALEKS course product(s) have you used in the past?
Basic Math, College Algebra

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
To me, the best practice is the use of homework assignments in conjunction with the Intermediate Objectives in ALEKS. For the stronger students who complete their homework early, I expand the Intermediate Objective and assign them to the new homework that relates accordingly. I also extend the deadline of the old homework to accommodate the slower learning pace of other students. By doing this, all students in the course find equal challenge to their learning ability. When the stronger students complete the course before the end of the semester, I switch them to College Algebra for extra credit.