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.

Missouri Western State University, MO
4 Year University / Public

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a traditional course without a textbook.
Purpose: Core Curriculum
ALEKS Course: Beginning Algebra

R. E. Moore, Director of Developmental Math Program
Students who use ALEKS are highly successful; our success rate is as high as 96 percent. Students say they like ALEKS because they don't have to wait for the rest of the class to catch up and because the course doesn't leave them behind the way previous courses have done. Math knowledge is like a piece of Swiss cheese: ALEKS finds the holes and then helps plug them. Students are always working where they can be successful. With ALEKS, teachers spend 98 percent of their time and effort teaching!!! If you like students, you will love ALEKS. Students are greatly encouraged when placed at the level where they can be successful. Teachers express a fear of turning so much over to ALEKS. ALEKS! ALEKS! ALEKS! Guided by ALEKS, you'll say, "Yes I can!!!!!!!!!" 


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Students receiving instruction and assistance when they needed it was a challenge.

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: 30
Number of students per ALEKS section: 30
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 900

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 3
Hours per week: Approximately 6-10
Hours per term: 80

For the sections that do NOT use ALEKS during this specific term, what do they work on in place of ALEKS?
Students who use ALEKS are highly successful. Why would I want to use anything else? It is very doubtful that any other method would help the students who don't attend class.


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
ALEKS was in use as a supplement to classes when I became Director in August 2002. Faced with increasing enrollment (due to increase in Math Act score required for general studies) and no money, two sections used ALEKS for Spring 2003.  I visited an ALEKS using program at East Central Oklahoma and liked what we saw. We began using ALEKS again in Summer 2003.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
ALEKS knows best. Students learn topics in the order that ALEKS provides.

Do you integrate a textbook with your course using ALEKS Textbook Integration? Please describe how you set up your chapter completion dates.
No, however we do link to a textbook in order to have access to supplemental resources. We also select the objectives for the course.

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?
ALEKS quizzes are optional; there is a quiz available for each objective in the course.

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
Student must do homework (learning pie topics) in order to progress through course.  No additional assignments are given.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
We continue to modify this. We have used scheduled assessments every two weeks and every three weeks. Most assessments this semester are given after a student masters 20 topics and completes 5-10 hours. The mid-term and final assessments are scheduled.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
ALEKS is in charge.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
Each student keeps a log of their progress. After each assessment, I help students update their individual logs and plan for success.

How do you use ALEKS in conjunction with any other learning management systems, course management programs, etc.?
ALEKS provides all that is needed. 


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
The students' score on the ALEKS final assessment determines their grade.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
The course is graded on a pass or fail basis. To earn credit for the course, the student must increases their pie by 80 topics (based on assessments). A score of 220 topics or higher on an in-class assessment means the student has completed the program.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
Students complete all homework and assessments on ALEKS. I am available for individual help when needed.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
At completion of the initial assessment, students are told how much time is needed to get credit in the course.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
Each student has a progress log which they update weekly on a spreadsheet. The students always know how much progress they have made and how much remains to be done. This lists weeks of the term with columns to record time on ALEKS and number of topics learned. The assessment section is updated after each in-class assessment with assistance from the instructor.


Best Practices

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