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.

Wallace Community College Selma, AL
2 Year Community College

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

Karen Brown, Lab Coordinator
Overall, we are pleased with ALEKS and how it benefits the students. ALEKS is a great tool for students to use, especially if they commit themselves to doing the work.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Students are not prepared for basic math 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: 25
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 75

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
The course consists of weekly labs. Students also work on ALEKS on their own time.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 5
Hours per week: 1
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 sections use ALEKS.


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
Students take the initial assessment on the first lab day, then work on their ALEKS pie. ALEKS quizzes and homework are added when additional remediation is needed on a particular section.

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?
Quizzes are created when additional reinforcement is needed.

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
ALEKS homework assignments are created when additional reinforcement is needed.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I add more lab practice for areas that cause students the most problems.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I use the ALEKS reports to verify that students are working on their ALEKS pies.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS lab assignment grades are added together to comprise 10 percent of the total course grade.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
Students complete ALEKS homework.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are responsible for completing all assessments, quizzes, and homework assignments.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I use the Detailed Learning 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?
Yes. Students who commit to lab attendance and practice usually have a higher average in the class than those who use lab only when it is convenient. At least 75 percent of grades improve as a result of students completing their lab work.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
The extra practice and tutoring that ALEKS offers help students to succeed.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
Students' test scores and pass rates improved after using ALEKS.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Students like that ALEKS gives them a tutorial when they get a problem wrong.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
Setting up and assessing the calculator option was an initial challenge.

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
I will set up ALEKS as a group, write down login information, and provide calculators for the students to use.

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

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
Incorporate lab during class time and inform students that they can work in ALEKS at home, as well as in the lab on campus.

Additional Insights:
ALEKS is a great tool for students to use, especially if they commit themselves to doing the work.