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.

Mercer County Community College, NJ
2 Year Community College

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a traditional course with a textbook.
Purpose: Core Curriculum
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra

Richard Porter, Associate Professor
ALEKS is a great tool for weak students. ALEKS gives students achievable steps to climb. Students appreciate the immediate feedback and have a strong sense of accomplishment. I am confident knowing that each and every student is being challenged to the fullest. 


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Diverse preparation and poor placement were challenges. Also, students were not being challenged enough or given adequate guidance when falling behind.

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: 22
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 45

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
The course consists of a one hour ALEKS lab, followed by a one hour lecture.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 3
Hours per week: 2
Hours per term: 20

For the sections that do NOT use ALEKS during this specific term, what do they work on in place of ALEKS?
Students are in lecture.


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
During the one hour lab, students work on ALEKS individually.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
I use the results of the practice tests on ALEKS to cover topics that are challenging to students. I follow the curriculum with a textbook.

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 frequently throughout the term.

How do you incorporate ALEKS Quizzes into your course?
I use ALEKS quizzes all the time to test recent material.

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
For students having problems, I assign ALEKS homework.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
I  call for assessments manually.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I use lab time to work with students one-on-one so I can determine what really needs to be covered in lecture.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I take class time to grade notebooks, correct tests and quizzes, and evaluate homework. I can teach with confidence knowing that the students are doing constructive, supportive work.


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
10-50 percent.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I require 20 hours spent in ALEKS per term which is worth ten percent of the total course grade. Certain ALEKS quizzes replace actual department exams for up to 40 percent of the grade.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
Yes, they are required to log on over the weekends and take quizzes. This makes up approximately 20 percent of their required computer time.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
No, but students do not take tests without finishing the corresponding section on the ALEKS pie.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I use overall progress, pie completion, and practice tests.

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?
ALEKS time is essential for a good grade, specifically for students who are not prepared or poorly motivated.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
I am confident knowing that each and every student is being challenged to the fullest. I have students who would not have passed the course without ALEKS.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
ALEKS predicts, with a strong correlation of .9, how students will perform on the department placement test.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
ALEKS gives students achievable steps to climb. Students appreciate the immediate feedback and have a strong sense of accomplishment with ALEKS.


Best Practices

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
I will use ALEKS quizzes instead of the testing center.

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

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
ALEKS should be fully integrated to the course. The instructors must let the students know the first day that they are looking at the student progress and outside class work.

Additional Insights:
ALEKS allows students to work at different levels, gives them an opportunity to travel outside the curriculum, and strengthens their overall skills.  Students get their money's worth using ALEKS. With the high costs of books, ALEKS is a great value.