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.

Long Beach City College, CA
2 Year Community College

Scenario: Lecture-based, modules, hybrid, summer bridge/boot camp
Purpose: Emporium Model, Supplement, Remediation, Preparation

John K. Ryan, Professor
My experience with ALEKS has been very positive. The most effective implementation has been in a room full of computers where we have 'flipped' the classroom. Two or four of us would be in a room full of computers, and we would run 'workshops' in side rooms. I am continuing to improve my implementation methodologies in a traditional class setting.

I have used MyMathLab, ConnectMath, and WebAssign. They do not compare with ALEKS. ALEKS adapts to the students by assessing them. 


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Our average success rates in our developmental classes was very low. My success rates for my classes were around 65% without ALEKS. After ALEKS, my success rates have increased and/or maintained at 65%-74%.

Number of students who used ALEKS for the course and term:
Number of students per ALEKS section: 40

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
We used ALEKS in a huge room with 200 computers and breakout rooms. Four instructors were using the breakout rooms (2 at a time for 2 different classes beginning and intermediate algebra).

I use modules. In my beginning algebra classes, I have 7 modules with a short exam at the end of each (the 7th being a final exam). I try to use the examples in ALEKS during my lectures now. As a result, depending on the topic, I now have more better examples, or sometimes none at all.



Implementation

Do you integrate a textbook with your course using ALEKS Textbook Integration? Please describe how you set up your chapter completion dates.
No.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
I use the Initial Assessment and the Objective Completion Assessment. 

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I no longer use a book. That was a big adjustment for me. I like that the practice exams can be redone over and over again, then I can make their real exam through ALEKS that is similar.

I lecture a little, then I have them do examples from ALEKS for practice. If I have computers in class, then I let them work and give mini workshops on specific topics.


How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I like the time and topic report. It lets me know when and how much time they are working outside of class. I like the pie report to help me to focus what they are ready to learn. I like tracking who did a practice exam. I even like to see their progress on the quick tables. The pie report lets me know what they are ready to learn. I adjust my lectures sometimes to account for that.


Grading

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
My grading system is set up as follows:
15% Objectives
40% Exams
25% Final Exam
15% Midterm Exam
3% SLAs
2% Practice Exams


Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I except students to spend 4-10 hours per week in ALEKS.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
We have tagged a cohort and have tracked these students. Statistically they are progressing better than those that did not go through ALEKS.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
The students that use ALEKS and take the time to do the homework, love it (and hate at the same time). I like that they speak the math language.


Best Practices

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
This next semester I will turn off the assessments a few days before the exams. I will also give some points to them (in a very low weighted category) to do the practice exams.

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
Having computers in class for them to work on has had the best success with an optional break-out room for mini lectures.