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: Extra Credit, Assessment
ALEKS Course: Prep for College Algebra

Linda Simonsen, Associate Professor
My experience has been very positive so far. I have significant plans for future use of ALEKS based on my experiences thus far.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
Students are mathematically unprepared.

Was ALEKS used in your course with all students or with targeted students?
The ALEKS assessment is used with all students. The Learning Mode is only used by students who wish to receive extra credit.

Number of students who used ALEKS for the course and term:
Number of sections: 1
Number of students per ALEKS section: 21
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 21

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
ALEKS is only used for assessments and extra credit.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Hours per week: Varies
Hours per term: Varies

For the sections that do NOT use ALEKS during this specific term, what do they work on in place of ALEKS?
They all use ALEKS for assessments.


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
Assessments occur the first week of the course and extra credit is done at their leisure.

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 never use the Instructor Module.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
We  used ALEKS for the Initial Assessment and some students were reassessed in the Learning Mode.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
ALEKS provided me with substantial information regarding the mathematical background of the course. Using this information, I was able to remediate in areas that were indicated by the Initial Assessment.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I am able to carefully cover teh mathematics that they are missing as indicated by the Initial Assessment.


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
Approximately 1-5 percent.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Students receive 20 homework points for completing the initial assessment in ALEKS. Students can also obtain between 5-25 extra credit points by increasing their scores from the initial assessment. If they gained 25 percent of what they did not know, they received five points. For example, if a student's initial assessment was 60 percent, if they gained 10 percent, they received five points. If they gained 20 percent, they received 10 points.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
Only the initial assessment (worth 20 points) and the extra credit (from 5-25 points).

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
No.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
With ALEKS reports.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
I believe that ALEKS has helped to fill in the gaps in our weaker students.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
Students developed confidence in their mathematical abilities and has increased their content knowledge of prerequisite concepts.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
ALEKS seems to be a confidence builder.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
Students remembering their own password was an initial challenge.

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
If given the opportunity, I will use ALEKS more extensively.

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

What best practices would you like to share with other instructors who are implementing ALEKS?
I think ALEKS has the potential to be a wonderful tool for remediation - something that is desperately needed in the university setting these days.