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.

Utah Valley University, UT
4 Year University / Public

Scenario: I use ALEKS in an online course with a textbook.
Purpose: Core Curriculum
ALEKS Course: Intermediate Algebra

Jane Marie Loftus, Assistant Professor
Overall, my students perform better in the course when they use ALEKS. Students like the independence that ALEKS gives them; they feel more in charge of their own success. 31 students out of 35 passed with ALEKS.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
The students come from varying backgrounds and have gaps in their math skills required for this course.

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: 35
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 70

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
I have the students meet percentage deadlines. They have to reach 20 percent by a certain date, 50 percent by another, 70 percent by another, and so on.

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

For the sections that do NOT use ALEKS during this specific term, what do they work on in place of ALEKS?
The students in non ALEKS classes used MyMathLab.


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
ALEKS is ten percent of the students' total grade. I also require that until students reach 50 percent on ALEKS, they must spend two hours a week in the lab.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
No.

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

How often do you use the ALEKS Instructor Module?
I use the Instructor Module a few times throughout the term.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
Once students reach 50 percent on ALEKS, their basic skills are solid enough that I can teach new concepts quicker and more effectively.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
10 percent of the grade comes from ALEKS.  Another ten percent comes from quizzes, 25 percent from the final, 20 percent from the midterm, and 35 percent from chapter tests.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
ALEKS is 100 percent of the students' homework responsibilities.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students must complete 20 percent of their pie by a certain date, 50 percent by another, 70 percent by another, and so on.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
Each deadline day, I print the progress of each student since his/her last assessment.

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 can predict the overall grades of the students by their progress in ALEKS.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
I attribute improved student performance to ALEKS.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
31 students out of 35 passed with ALEKS. Overall, my students perform better in the course when they use ALEKS.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Students like the independence that ALEKS gives them; they feel more in charge of their own success.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
Getting the students to sign up was an initial challenge. I now assign quiz points for signing up and taking the assessments.

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
I will enforce the deadlines earlier in the semester.

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?
Incorporate percentage deadlines - this fills the students' gaps earlier in the semester which enables them to learn new material more effectively.