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.

San Diego Mesa College, CA
2 Year Community College

Scenario: I use ALEKS in an online course without a textbook.
Purpose: Preparation
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra

Michelle Parsons, Assistant Professor
I have been completely satisfied with my ALEKS experience. The students have also enjoyed ALEKS and have benefited greatly from the program. We have five refresher courses that use ALEKS; they are intended for students who have had the material before but need to refresh their knowledge. The way ALEKS is set up is ideal for this. We have helped many students shorten their time in community college by using the ALEKS program to place them in the appropriate math courses.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Students were being placed in the wrong courses, but were able to move up the ladder with a little refresher.

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: 23
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 23

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
The entire course is online and ALEKS is the only material used.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 7
Hours per week: Approximately 7-14
Hours per term: 30

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


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
ALEKS is the course curriculum. This course is a refresher class for students needing to remember their Pre-Algebra skills in order to move on to other math courses. ALEKS is the only material students work on.

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 scheduled Assessments into your course?
I schedule one ALEKS scheduled assessment at the end of the term.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
For this course, ALEKS is the instructional approach. I merely observe the students' progress.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I mostly look at the students' Progress Since Latest Assessment Report in ALEKS. I also view the Detailed Progress Report to watch the students' progress through the course material.

How do you use ALEKS in conjunction with any other learning management systems, course management programs, etc.?
We use Blackboard for our online courses; ALEKS was available as a link from this page for the students.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Students must complete 90 percent of their pie to get credit for the course, otherwise they receive no credit.

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 must complete 90 percent of the course topics by the end of the term.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I look at the students' Learning Progress Since Last Assessment Report and the Detailed Progress Report.

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?
Since ALEKS is the course, I see that students who spend more time on the work show better performances. The only exceptions are students who score very high on the initial assessment and do not need to spend as much time in ALEKS. Sometimes these students are moved on to the next course (Beginning Algebra) and allowed to work through that material.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
Yes. I find that students in this course have succeeded in the next Beginning Algebra course because of the solid background that ALEKS gives them.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
Some students have increased their placement by testing into Beginning Algebra instead of Pre-Algebra. Students are more prepared for their Beginning Algebra course since using ALEKS.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Most students enjoy the ALEKS experience and feel that they wouldn't have been able to remember the material without the help of the ALEKS program.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
I notice that not having the right version of JAVA or having pop-ups blocked is a challenge. Students should check this before entering ALEKS.

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

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
Although I have not used ALEKS in a classroom setting, I believe it would work well.

Additional Insights:
I love the way this course uses ALEKS. We have five refresher courses that use ALEKS; they are intended for students who have had the material before but need to refresh their knowledge. The way ALEKS is set up is ideal for this. We have helped many students shorten their time in community college by using the ALEKS program to place them in the appropriate math courses. I enjoy presiding over these courses and watching students progress through material that had previously been forgotten.