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.

Ball State University, IN
4 Year Baccalaureate-Granting College / Public

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a traditional course with a textbook.
Purpose: Preparation
ALEKS Course: Prep for Intermediate Algebra

Deb Pearson, Instructor
I have used ALEKS Prep for two semesters in my Intermediate Algebra courses. I require its completion as a portion of the course grade. This allows me to focus on the current material knowing that my students will have mastered the prerequisite material using ALEKS. The program is very easy to enroll in and work on. Any problems that my students encounter have purely been because they did not listen to instructions. The program does not "lock up" or have tolerance issues.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
The students in our Intermediate Algebra course are there as a prerequisite for a future course required for their majors. If they have tested into the Intermediate Algebra course, then they are unprepared for their future courses. They are very often afraid of math and have great difficulties in their math courses.

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: 1
Number of students per ALEKS section: 119
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 119

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
Because my student use the Prep for Intermediate Algebra course, ALEKS is completely separate from the coursework. The program is due at the end of the first three weeks of class with an 80 percent proficiency level. It is worth 30 points out of the course total of 560 points, and the students receive all or nothing of the 30 points. If they have the 80 percent, they get 30 points, if not, no points.

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


Implementation


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is 30 points and homework is 70 points. There are three 100-point tests and a 160-point cumulative final exam. 


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
Using ALEKS Prep has allowed me to go forward in my Intermediate Algebra course knowing that the students have the required preparatory skills for the course. They may not be experts at the material, but they are certainly better than they were before using the program.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
The students are generally very satisfied with what they learn using ALEKS Prep. 


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?
I highly recommend using ALEKS Prep for prerequisite requirements in any course. It can be tailored to the course for the items that are necessary for the course. I make the program a part of the course grade, and make it all or nothing in points. This seems to create a strong incentive for the students to complete the program.