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.

Colorado Technical University, CO
4 Year University / Private

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a traditional course with a textbook.
Purpose: Core Curriculum
ALEKS Course: Basic Math

Marty Hodges, Associate Professor
I enjoy using ALEKS for teaching Basic Math, Pre-Algebra, and Elementary Algebra. ALEKS has improved students' test averages by 8-10 percent; students retain the knowledge and look forward to coming to this course and using ALEKS. My students like using ALEKS overall and feel positive about their experience with the program. ALEKS features such as feedback given to students and the ability for students to work at their own pace, make the program effective and useful.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Students need different times of the day for testing, which creates a major problem. ALEKS eliminates the problem, allowing students to test at their convenience.

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: 22
Number of students per ALEKS section: 7
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 31

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
Generally, the course consists of one lecture followed by one lab throughout the term.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 3-4 encouraged, 2 required.
Hours per week: 5
Hours per term: 55-60

For the sections that do NOT use ALEKS during this specific term, what do they work on in place of ALEKS?
All sections used ALEKS.


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
ALEKS illustrates problems to individual students, then has the students work similar problems until ALEKS topics are learned. After lab sections, students take a test on the chapter sections assigned.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
Yes. We follow a textbook which coordinates ALEKS section by section. An ALEKS generated test follows assigned chapters.

Do you integrate a textbook with your course using ALEKS Textbook Integration? Please describe how you set up your chapter completion dates.
Yes. Our syllabus operates independently by weeks in the term. We follow specific dates, with flexibility permitted if needed for a specific student.

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS Quizzes into your course?
An ALEKS quiz follows each text section.

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
Having students use ALEKS at their discretion allows them to do assignments at home.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I allow ALEKS to assign problems, grade quizzes, and grade tests.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
We use the ALEKS feedback from quizzes and tests to determine if a particular topic is being learned by the students. If students score weak in a particular area, it is reinforced in the course.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS comprises 100 percent of the students' grade with the following breakdown: ALEKS quizzes comprise 40 percent; ALEKS homework comprises 20 percent; and ALEKS-generated tests comprise the other 40 percent.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
ALEKS is used for about 50 percent of the students' homework; textbook assignments are the other 50 percent.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are expected to complete all ALEKS assigned projects. For those who are not comfortable using a computer, we print ALEKS-generated materials to work on by hand.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I keep ALEKS results in a gradebook and use Excel to determine the percentages at the end of the term.

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?
Students who spend more time using ALEKS really enjoy the program and easily score 5-8 percent higher than those who do not use ALEKS.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
I think ALEKS' ability to review material without tiring students helps students them to pursue computer-based help.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
ALEKS has improved students' test averages by 8-10 percent. Students retain the knowledge and look forward to coming to this course and using ALEKS. 

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Students like using ALEKS and feel positive about their ALEKS experience.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
I did not understand ALEKS when first using the program. Other instructors who have used ALEKS in the past should be available to assist others in understanding it.

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
In future courses, I plan to have immediate access of ALEKS for students. Also, I will be sufficiently enthusiastic to inspire students to use the program.

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

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
Other instructors should review and understand ALEKS before their first class. This will assist them in answering any questions from students that may arise.