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 an online course with a textbook.
Purpose: Core Curriculum
ALEKS Course: Basic Math

Mark Antkowicz, Associate Professor
ALEKS is a complete learning tool! I have been able to learn how to use the new Advanced Instructor Module (IM-2) and have more control over the topics. Our main priorities are pie completion along with concept mastery, and those students who learn with ALEKS achieve this goal faster.  ALEKS allows my students, many of whom are adult learners, to easily make up work if time is missed. Whereas, in a traditional setting, they would fall behind and sometimes fail.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Our students are very diverse in their skills; some finish a course in a few weeks and some take more than one term. Also, attendance is sometimes a problem with many adult learners.

Was ALEKS used in your course with all students or with targeted students?
ALEKS is used for all Basic Math and Elementary Algebra students.

Number of students who used ALEKS for the course and term:
Number of sections: 4
Number of students per ALEKS section: 30
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 120

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
Our course structure revolves around students using ALEKS online. Instructors are available to offer guidance as needed.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 3
Hours per week: 12
Hours per term: 120

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


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
We initially implemented the Basic Math module and quickly moved to include Elementary Algebra.  ALEKS has been so successful that recently all Colorado Technical University campuses have begun to use ALEKS.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
Yes. We follow the Bello books and selected topics relevant to our degree programs.

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 frequently throughout the term.

How do you incorporate ALEKS Quizzes into your course?
Before switching to the new Instructor Module, I used ten quizzes throughout the course, and allowed the students to complete them at their discretion.

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
Homework assignments are not required through ALEKS.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
Completely. I now prefer the self- paced individual tutoring approach that ALEKS provides.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I combine the textbook and videos, ALEKS explanation pages, the preferred order to complete the pie, and the hours spent per week for each student to inform my instruction.


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
ALEKS constitutes 70 percent of my students' final grade; the remaining 30 percent comes from a written final exam.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS constitutes 70 percent of my students' course grade, which is derived from their final assessment performance.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
ALEKS is the complete learning and homework tool. I give a practice and written in-class final.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes. I require a minimum of four hours of work in ALEKS per week, along with 60 percent of the pie to be completed by the midterm.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I track student progress by monitoring the detailed progress report which shows each student's performance along with the class average.

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?
Absolutely. I calculate the correlation coefficient and the percent completed for all classes at Colorado Technical University, Kansas City and the value is between .6 and .7.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
The self-paced and individualized instruction ALEKS provides is the major factor in the students' successful performance.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
Many students complete both prep math courses in one term, saving them time and money.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
If students want to learn, they learn better and faster with ALEKS.

Published Papers Regarding ALEKS:
I have written a S.W.A.T. study for our university.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
Initially, we experienced issues with instructor and student code handling, but ALEKS Customer Support was great and provided the responses we needed promptly.

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
I would like to learn how to control the quiz feature more effectively on the new Instructor Module.

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

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
I recommend instructors put themselves in the students' position by taking the assessments and really viewing the program from their perspective.