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 University -- Corpus Christi, TX
4 Year University / Public

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a computer lab without a textbook.
Purpose: Emporium Model
ALEKS Course: College Algebra

C. Jay Hutchings, Instructor
I have been using ALEKS to teach university level courses in an emporium setting for the last six years. In the past, students were not comfortable with computers in the classroom, but ALEKS has changed that dramatically. I use ALEKS almost exclusively in my courses, and believe that it provides the best and most efficient practice system available for Algebra and Arithmetic. As a result, my students know that they are getting stronger, and really learning.  ALEKS has taught my students to take control of their own learning. I am no longer the only participant, dragging them along through the course.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
A major challenge is how to accomplish differentiation and individualized instruction when my class consists of various skill levels. About a third of my students' problems begin with poor arithmetic skills, with a few that are well prepared. Motivating all of them to be proactive and make good use of their time can be difficult.

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: 3-5
Number of students per ALEKS section: 30
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 90-150

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
My courses are all labs with very few lectures per semester.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 5
Hours per week: 5
Hours per term: 75

For the sections that do NOT use ALEKS during this specific term, what do they work on in place of ALEKS?
Sections that were not implementing ALEKS used MyMathLab.


Implementation

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 daily throughout the term.

How do you incorporate ALEKS Quizzes into your course?
I implement the ALEKS quiz feature with varying frequency. Currently, I use quizzes to prepare my students for their midterm and final exams. 

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
I use homework as an aid to review for midterm and final exams.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
I encourage my students to take excellent notes while mastering topics in the Learning Mode, and allow them to use their notes on all of their assessments, except for the final exam. ALEKS really forces my students to earn the right to take a test because they must master a sufficient amount of material first.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
ALEKS has taught my students to take control of their own learning. I am no longer the only participant, dragging them along through the course. I can now offer individualized encouragement and help.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I require students to complete a minimum of five hours per week in ALEKS, with a minimum of 75 hours per semester. My students' total course grade is based on their percent of mastered objectives as compared to their total time spent in ALEKS (45 percent of grade), a midterm (20 percent of grade), and a final exam (25 percent of grade). In addition, I supplement their Learning Mode progress and exams with monthly quizzes which comprise 10 percent of the total course grade.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
All homework assignments are completed on ALEKS.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I do not require students to make regular amounts of progress, but I do recommend that students master two or more topics per hour of use.


Best Practices

Which ALEKS course product(s) have you used in the past?
Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, PreCalculus, Introduction to Statistics, Math Prep for College Physics