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.

Bunker Hill Community College, MA
2 Year Community College

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a traditional course with a textbook.
Purpose: Supplement, Homework
ALEKS Course: Beginning Algebra

Katherine Gustafson, Adjunct Professor
I use ALEKS with an individualized summer math bridge course for Students And Teachers Educational Materials (STEM) students wanting to improve their algebra and pre-calculus skills. I also use ALEKS in a hybrid Fundamentals of Algebra course. I am still learning how to use ALEKS well, but am impressed with the ability of the software to engage students and give them confidence to learn math. ALEKS improved the assessment scores of students, on average, from 22.3 percent to 60.6 percent, whereas students who did not use or limited their use of ALEKS, saw their initial assessment score increase, on average, from 11 percent to 32 percent.


Scenario

Was ALEKS used in your course with all students or with targeted students?
ALEKS is offered to all students. 

Number of students who used ALEKS for the course and term:
Number of sections: 2
Number of students per ALEKS section: 15
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 30

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
I structure the course with one lecture followed by one lab.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: Students use ALEKS on Tuesdays during the last part of the course, and then must work on ALEKS on their own time.
Hours per week: 5
Hours per term: 50

For the sections that do NOT use ALEKS during this specific term, what do they work on in place of ALEKS?
Students in non-ALEKS sections use traditional paper homework assignments.


Implementation

How often do you use the ALEKS Instructor Module?
I never use the Instructor Module.

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
Students are required to print and complete ALEKS worksheets once a week.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
I use an ALEKS scheduled assessment for the final assessment at the end of the course, prior to the students taking the department required final exam.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I allow a certain amount of time for students to work individually on problems using ALEKS.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I check the progress of each student in ALEKS before class. This helps me identify particular problem areas that need to be covered more in-depth.

How do you use ALEKS in conjunction with any other learning management systems, course management programs, etc.?
ALEKS is the main course management system being used besides Excel to keep track of the students' attendance and grades.


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 with the following breakdown: five hours of ALEKS per week comprise 15 percent; ALEKS worksheets comprise 15 percent; chapter quizzes comprise 50 percent; and the department final exam comprises 20 percent.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
Students' homework consists mainly of ALEKS hours and worksheets. Students who do not use ALEKS have traditional section-by-section assignments.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
No I do not require this, but students know that every other week they will be tested on chapter content.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I use reports generated by ALEKS to view the amount of hours students complete and if they complete additional periodic assessments. I also check the pie chart and review the progress shown with each student.

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. Students who contribute the most hours in ALEKS, an average of 45 hours for the semester, increase their assessment scores by about 40 points. Students who pass the course, but only complete about 25 hours in ALEKS, increased their scores by only 29 points.


Best Practices

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