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.

Sierra College, CA
2 Year Community College

Scenario: I use ALEKS in an online course without a textbook.
Purpose: Core Curriculum
ALEKS Course: College Algebra

Cliff Myers, Professor
Students who like the computer format learn better and have a better attitude with ALEKS. I beg for questions from the students as they are so focused on completing their topics. Faculty resistance is overcome when ALEKS demonstrates its artificial intelligence and essential mastery learning.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
We offered traditional lectures and had used Plato's Academic Systems which had problems. Lectures gave an excessive variance in coverage and standards, and also students began to demand more modern methods. None of the faculty could adapt the curriculum to meet each student's needs. When ALEKS came along with its artificial intelligence and essentially mastery learning, the resistance by the faculty was overcome. 

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: 2
Number of students per ALEKS section: 30
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 30

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
ALEKS comprises the whole class; I just administer and answer questions.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 2
Hours per week: 8

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.
I select topics and testing parameters, otherwise ALEKS is the course.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
Students are free to work on ALEKS topics available to them in their pies.

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 use scheduled assessments and consider them a strong selling point of ALEKS.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I beg students for questions about math.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
Students work on ALEKS and I offer individual help when needed.

How do you use ALEKS in conjunction with any other learning management systems, course management programs, etc.?
I use a spreadsheet for grading.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is 100 percent of the course grade. Out of 750 possible points, tests count for 300 points, topic deadlines for 60 points, topics for 190 points, and a final for 200 points.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
Students work on pie completion as their homework.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Progress is determined by individual ALEKS completion during the course.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
ALEKS emails me when a student completes a unit.

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?
By and large, the more time spent by a student in ALEKS, means a better grade.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
Structure and course expectations are straight forward which students apply themselves to easily.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
ALEKS definitely improves pass and retention rates.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Overall, students regard ALEKS very positively.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
Setting up the course was initially daunting.

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
Refer to an experienced ALEKS instructor before setting up class expectations.

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

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
Frequently access ALEKS and strive to keep the students on schedule.