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.

University of Wisconsin, WI
4 Year University / Public

Scenario: I use ALEKS in an online course without a textbook.
Purpose: Core Curriculum
ALEKS Course: Basic Math

Leah Rineck, Lecturer
I like that ALEKS allows students to work at their own pace, and when they have trouble, individual help is available to them.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Most of my students have never been successful in a math course before.

Number of students who used ALEKS for the course and term:
Number of sections: 2
Number of students per ALEKS section: 20
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 40

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 5
Hours per week: 10.5


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
I teach a combination course where students attend class twice a day five days a week. They complete Basic Math and Beginning Algebra in one semester; some students also complete Intermediate Algebra. I also conduct an online review for Engineering students that did not place high enough on their math placement exams to be ready for Calculus; they work on ALEKS at home for six weeks in the summer and then retake the placement exam. Students are required to work on ALEKS in the computer lab twice a day for 75 minutes in the morning and 50 minutes in the afternoon. Questions are encouraged and answered individually. Assessments are taken every other week, and progress assessments are administered on the off weeks. Daily ALEKS worksheets are also required.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
No, I let students work at their own pace.

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
I have students print out one worksheet per week and hand in problems daily.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
I schedule a comprehensive assessment every other week. The students also need to complete two assessments with a 92 percent or better to finish the course early.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I do not give traditional lectures. I give individual instruction based on what the students are currently learning.


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
Over 50 percent.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Grades are determined based on completion of the ALEKS course content and student written work. If students complete at least 92 percent of the content, they are guaranteed a C or better. If their written work is good, then the grade they receive corresponds to the percent they receive in ALEKS (e.g. greater than 90% is an A or A-; 80-89% is a B+, B, or B-; 70-79% is a C+, C, or C-; 69% or less is a D or F). If their written work is average, then the grade is reduced by one letter grade.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
Homework for the course is working in ALEKS. Assessments are also required. For each problem on  the assessment, students are required to write out the problem, solve the problem, and check their answers. Also, they are required to complete a weekly ALEKS worksheet. All problems that are turned in must be written out completely, solved, and the answers must be checked. If worksheets are not done in this manner, they are returned for corrections the first month, and then not given credit after that.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I require that students complete at least 20 topics in Basic Math, 15 in Beginning Algebra, and 10 in Intermediate Algebra per week.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I use the course progress reports and the individual student reports.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
Yes, improved student performance is due to the fact that ALEKS will not let a student move on unless they completely master the material.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
Five students out of 39 completed Basic Math, Beginning Algebra, and Intermediate Algebra in one semester. One student even earned an A after retaking the course for the third time.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Students like the course and learn the material.


Best Practices

Which ALEKS course product(s) have you used in the past?
Basic Math, Beginning Algebra, Intermediate Algebra