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.

Seminole State College of Florida, FL
2 Year Community College

Scenario: I use ALEKS in an online course without a textbook.
Purpose: Core Curriculum
ALEKS Course: Beginning Algebra

Eden Donahou, Professor
My experience with ALEKS has been effective, efficient, and eloquent. I LOVE the program. Our students' pass rates improved from 49 percent to 82 percent with ALEKS. We also saw increased retention in the next course. Students feel empowered as they guide their own learning through ALEKS. Several groups of students have emailed and contacted our department chair requesting ALEKS classes to enroll into in the next class.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Our students had low passing rates and poor retention of course material.

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

Number of students who used ALEKS for the course and term:
Number of sections: 2
Number of students per ALEKS section: 26
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 52

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
I print the course content for the Chapter Objective and plan the lessons I teach per class. I cross reference this content with the Average Report (pie chart) to see which topics I need to cover more intently. I begin teaching the topics that are needed and then facilitate student learning as they work on their ALEKS pie charts. Using the Homework feature, I create a Chapter Practice Test and use the item analysis report the day before the test to direct the test review.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 5
Hours per week: 6
Hours per term: 80


Implementation

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
For the first chapter objective, I use the Average Report to guide my teaching. For subsequent chapter objectives, I teach by chapter and section number using the ALEKS Content Editor to access, direct, and open the topics.

How do you use ALEKS in conjunction with any other learning management systems, course management programs, etc.?
I use ALEKS as the primary delivery system. I use various hands-on activities and cooperative learning experiences to supplement the ALEKS topics I teach.


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
Completion of the ALEKS Pie is 30 percent of the grade. The remaining 70 percent is comprised of 50 percent for tests and 20 percent for the state final exam.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Completion of the ALEKS Pie is 30 percent of the grade. The remaining 70 percent is comprised of 50 percent for tests and 20 percent for the State Final Exam.
 
For the next semester, we are changing the ALEKS grade to 25 percent for completion of the ALEKS Pie and 5 percent for Homework Practice Tests. The practice tests were optional before and most students don't do optional.


Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
ALEKS was the entire homework grade during the fall semester, which was 30 percent of the grade.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
No. However, students who complete at least 80 percent of their current Intermediate Objectives (chapter completion) earn the privilege of retaking their exam if they choose to.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
Our students' pass rates improved from 49 percent to 82 percent with ALEKS. We also saw increased retention in the next course: students who took ALEKS in Beginning Algebra averaged 34 percent on their Initial Assessment in Introductory Algebra, while students from traditional (non-ALEKS) Beginning Algebra courses averaged 13 percent on their Initial Assessment in Introductory Algebra.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Students feel empowered as they guide their own learning through ALEKS. Several groups of students have emailed and contacted our department chair requesting ALEKS classes to enroll into in the next class.


Best Practices

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
For the next semester, we are changing the ALEKS grade to 25 percent for completion of the ALEKS Pie and 5 percent for Homework Practice Tests. The practice tests were optional before and most students don't do optional.

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

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
At the beginning of each Chapter Objective, I send my students a printable practice test (created in ALEKS), along with other attachments of handouts and support materials relevant to the chapter. I use a Livescribe Smartpen to work the practice test, and include this in the email for my students to reference as needed.


Additional Insights:
I LOVE the program. Thank You!!! Great customer support as well!