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.

East Central University, OK
4 Year University / Public

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

Dr. Mickle Duggan, Professor
I have been using ALEKS for ten years, mostly in our developmental mathematics program. The pass rate has increased from 50 percent when I was teaching a traditional course, to 75 percent now that I'm using ALEKS. The students are not much different from previous semesters as to where they began - they really outperformed previous students. Students have told me that they are finally learning math. They really like to see their progress as their pies grow; it gives them a feeling of success to know that they did this on their own.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Students are on such different levels; some students can solve basic linear equations and do basic graphing, while others struggle with basic arithmetic. Another problem is the inability of many students to commit to the time constraints required by a traditional course. When a student misses a class in a traditional course they miss review questions, new material, and the foundations for the material to come.

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: 36
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 36

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 4
Hours per week: 5
Hours per term: 80


Implementation

How often do you use the ALEKS Instructor Module?
I use the Instructor Module daily throughout the term.

How do you incorporate ALEKS Quizzes into your course?
I occasionally schedule a quiz for individual students if they want additional practice, otherwise, we have abandoned the use of quizzes.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
Four assessments must be taken in the supervised computer lab, as well as one final scheduled assessment.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I no longer lecture and instead spend more time working with students on what they do not understand.  I also spend a lot of time evaluating student performance and contacting students who are not performing well.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
The two things I look at frequently are the number of objectives mastered and time spent in ALEKS. I have begun to focus my teaching on the students' needs rather than the material I need to cover. I talk to students about losses on assessments not as missed problems, but as opportunities to relearn the material. I really pay attention to students who are behind and can now identify them more easily. I check student progress daily before class and make certain I make individual contact with students who are struggling. ALEKS also provides an easy way to contact students; the students enter their telephone number as their student ID, so that if I need to contact them I can do so by phone or email.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Of the approximately 230 objectives in the course, we require students to take a final assessment and master 170 objectives.

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

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are required to complete five hours in ALEKS per week, or meet the benchmark objective for the week. The benchmarks start at 105 objectives and go up by ten for the first 8 weeks, then by 5 for the last 8 weeks. We try and get the students around 190 objectives by the end of the semester.


Best Practices

Which ALEKS course product(s) have you used in the past?
Beginning Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Introduction to Statistics