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.

Granite State College, NH
4 Year Baccalaureate-Granting College / Public

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

Mary Ann Cummiskey, Instructor
Having worked with two schools, one that used computer learning as a student choice and one that integrated computer learning into the course, I feel confident to say that computer learning greatly enhances the skills and understanding of my students. The standards for passing the course are high (an 85 average) and the majority of my students meet this goal. I believe this is due to the more focused practice they receive from using ALEKS. One way I use the program is to have students complete a brief, post-homework quiz at home. From these results, I identify the weaknesses that students still encounter with the material, even after in-class review. The first activity of the next class is review of the common errors. I utilize a "marker board" approach to this additional practice. In this way, students' needs are addressed in a timely fashion. If I had just depended on students asking questions, I would not have gotten such a clear picture of where learning had falling behind.


Scenario

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

Number of students who used ALEKS for the course and term:
Number of sections: 1
Number of students per ALEKS section: 15
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 15

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
Classes are three and a half hours long. After lecture, students try to do the homework quiz for the next class. There is not a specific ALEKS lab. In general, my students are adult learners and work in ALEKS on their own.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 5
Hours per week: 3
Hours per term: 25


Implementation

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
I follow the numbering of the pie slices. I use the ALEKS workbook as a text.

How do you use ALEKS in conjunction with any other learning management systems, course management programs, etc.?
I use ALEKS as an opportunity to create homework quizzes after we go over homework. I prefer that students do their assignments with pen and paper so that I can see their work, not just the answers.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
At least 25 hours on ALEKS are required and constitute 25 percent of the grade.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
The homework quiz is assigned each week. Students get full credit for the quiz if they score 80 or above. If their grade is less than 80, they need to try again until they receive an 80. If they try and can't get the grade up, they receive 6 points. If they don't retry, they receive 2 points.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
My best student had not taken a math class in over 15 years. He used ALEKS extensively and received an A for the course.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Students often comment how they like ALEKS and how they use it to enhance their learning experience.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?



What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
The homework quiz is another opportunity to look at the topics and uncover weaknesses. It provides focused review for me and helps me understand where students are falling behind and need extra instruction.