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.

Texas A&M International University, TX
4 Year University / Public

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

Alma Velia Jasso, Developmental Instructor
All students improved their scores on the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) as a result of using ALEKS daily. I like working with ALEKS because it is based on the students' individual needs. It helps students resolve their weaknesses and therefore improves the students' overall performance. I love the ALEKS reporting features and am able to retrieve plenty of information from them.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Students were very weak in their basic math skills prior to ALEKS.

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: 4
Number of students per ALEKS section: 15
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 60

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
Three hour lectures were followed by a two hour lab where the students would use ALEKS.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 4
Hours per week: 2
Hours per term: 40

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.
During instruction, we cover topics that are in each student's pie chart. Then the students work on ALEKS during their lab.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
Yes. The other instructor and I use the textbook to follow a particular order. We instruct the students to work on a particular section of the pie according to that order.

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
ALEKS homework assignments are the only homework assigned.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
All ALEKS assessments are given during the class.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I make sure to cover all ALEKS topics.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I love the ALEKS reporting features and am able to retrieve plenty of information from them.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS comprises 30 percent of the students' overall grade. The balance of the grade is made up tests which comprise 50 percent, attendance which comprises 10 percent, and projects which comprise 10 percent.

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

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are expected to finish their ALEKS pie by the end of the semester.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I look at the ALEKS reports daily and talk to the student if they do not work in the program for two hours during the lab. If students don't have enough time during their lab period, they are expected to complete ALEKS for homework on their own time.

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. The student who scores highest on the THEA is the student who has the highest ALEKS work completed at the end of the semester.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
Because ALEKS is based on the students' individual needs, it helps them improve their weaknesses and therefore improves their overall performance.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
All students improved their scores on the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) as a result of using ALEKS daily. Most students scored high enough to move on to the next math course or were placed into College Algebra the following semester. We attribute their success to the use of ALEKS in their two hour daily lab; ALEKS improved their test-taking skills in the course.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
By completing the pie chart, ALEKS allows students to see their progress.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
I was not familiar with ALEKS when beginning the program. By contacting our ALEKS representative, I received the help I needed to better understand the program and would encourage other instructors to do the same.

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
I will try to use more of the ALEKS quiz and test features.

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

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
Other instructors should use their ALEKS reports to receive information to better help students.