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.

University of Arizona, AZ
4 Year University / Public

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

Wieke D. de Boer, Adjunct Faculty
ALEKS is a good tool. I like the fact that my students can work on their own and get feedback without me having to grade or lecture.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
My students had very weak basic Algebra skills.

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: 1
Number of students per ALEKS section: 31
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 31

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
My ALEKS course periods are structured entirely around online use of the program.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 2
Hours per week: 1
Hours per term: 20

For the sections that do NOT use ALEKS during this specific term, what do they work on in place of ALEKS?
In addition to ALEKS, we use a workbook that includes review of basic Algebra skills.


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
At the beginning of the semester, my students take an assessment. If they score over 20 percent, they receive full credit (approximately three percent of the total grade). Over the course of the semester, they have to complete the course with a 90 percent or better to receive full credit (five percent of total grade).

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
No.

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 a few times throughout the term.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I did not have to modify my approach, thanks to ALEKS!

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I did not use ALEKS reports to inform my teaching.


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
ALEKS makes up eight percent of my students' total course grade.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
My students must complete an initial assessment with greater than 20 percent completion to receive credit. Over the course of the semester, they must achieve greater than 90 percent to receive a full credit for the course.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
ALEKS is about 20 percent of my students' homework load.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I do not require specific amounts of progress. My students only need to finish their pie by the end of the semester.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I review each student's detailed progress history.


Learning Outcomes

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Overall, I believe my students feel that they are learning a lot, and are brushing up on Algebra skills that they have forgotten.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
Initially, I encountered students not completing work in ALEKS.

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
I will make sure to implement due dates throughout the semester instead of only at the end.

Which ALEKS course product(s) have you used in the past?
Intermediate Algebra, Prep for College Algebra, Prep for Calculus with Limits

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
I like ALEKS as extra review for a course, without the instructor having to lecture or grade.