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.

California State University -- Northridge, CA
4 Year University / Public

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a traditional course with a textbook.
Purpose: Supplement
ALEKS Course: Prep for Calculus

Leesa Anne Wood, Teaching Associate
ALEKS is a good learning resource for my students. The average score for the final exam and overall pass rate has improved greatly.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Students entering the course were not prepared; some did not have the proper prerequisites and were at a disadvantage.

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: 30
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 60

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
The course consists of a lecture followed by a lab. ALEKS is completed on the students' own time.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 5
Hours per week: 4
Hours per term: 60


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
The course consists of a lecture followed by a lab. ALEKS is completed on the students' own time. The lab instructor is responsible for monitoring ALEKS progress.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
The material covered in ALEKS was remedial to the lectures and was intended to be more of a review.

Do you integrate a textbook with your course using ALEKS Textbook Integration? Please describe how you set up your chapter completion dates.
A text is used for the lecture material.

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
Students complete the initial assessment then work until their progress reaches 90 percent.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
For the lab, students start with four points. If they don't complete ALEKS by week eight, they lose one point. If they don't finish by week ten, they lose two points. If they don't finish by week 12, they lose three points. If they don't finish by week 14, they lose three points. If they don't finish by week 16, they lose four points and don't pass the lab.

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

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are responsible for pacing themselves.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
 I use the ALEKS Advanced Instructor Module to check on each student's progress.

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, I definitely notice that students who spend more time on ALEKS perform better in the course.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
Students who spend more time on ALEKS are more committed to their school work.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
The average score for the final exam and overall pass rate has improved greatly.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
Getting students to register was not easy and stressing the fact that students will not pass the course unless they complete ALEKS is difficult.

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
Print out the course progress report each week to go over with students.

Which ALEKS course product(s) have you used in the past?
Prep for Calculus

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
I recommend setting goals and time limits.