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.

Citrus College, CA
2 Year Community College

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a traditional course with a textbook.
Purpose: Supplement
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra

David Casey, Professor
I have used ALEKS in various courses for the past seven years as a supplement to homework and for testing and assessment. ALEKS has been most helpful in isolating and addressing individual students' specific mathematical needs, which is especially important with college students who are taking a middle school-level math course like Pre-Algebra. I firmly believe that ALEKS is a tremendous help to the conscientious student.


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
There was a general lack of math preparation and study skills among students prior to using ALEKS.

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: 19
Number of students per ALEKS section: 25
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 450

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
Students generally attend lecture two times per week and then attend the lab at their own convenience.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 5
Hours per week: 3
Hours per term: 35

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


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
Students attend an ALEKS orientation session during the second week of class. As far as working in ALEKS, students are required to complete six hours of work within ALEKS by the end of the fourth week, and then they are required to complete 2.5 hours per week thereafter. Instructors use ALEKS to monitor student progress, and some instructors also use ALEKS for testing. The common final exam for the course is administered using ALEKS.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
We use textbook integration, so students follow the topics in the order demonstrated by the textbook.

Do you integrate a textbook with your course using ALEKS Textbook Integration? Please describe how you set up your chapter completion dates.
Yes. Chapter completion dates are set to coincide with chapter tests in ALEKS.

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?
I use ALEKS quizzes for all testing, and I generally give a test at the end of each chapter in the textbook.

How do you incorporate ALEKS homework assignments into your course?
I use ALEKS homework assignments as practice tests.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
Assessments are strictly scheduled for all students, and instructors review these assessment results.

How do you modify your regular instructional approach as a result of ALEKS?
I now spend less time on review and remediation as a result of using ALEKS.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
To focus my teaching, I primarily use the results from ALEKS quizzes to determine topics for review and remediation.

How do you use ALEKS in conjunction with any other learning management systems, course management programs, etc.?
I use Blackboard to post grades and assignments, and then use ALEKS for homework and testing.


Grading

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

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Students receive homework points for completing ALEKS hours each week and they receive extra points for completing the ALEKS Intermediate Objectives on time. My grading scale is 20 percent of a student's grade is traditional homework, an additional 20 percent is their time spent in ALEKS, and the remaining 60 percent is their ALEKS test grades.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
ALEKS accounts for approximately 50 percent of a student's homework responsibility.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I require students to spend regular amounts of time on task, but I do not require them to make regular amounts of progress.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I track student progress by using the Detailed Progress Report and quiz results.

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, we have noticed that students who spend more time on task perform better in the course; however, we have not analyzed specific statistics.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
I firmly believe that ALEKS is a tremendous help to the conscientious student. It isolates and addresses needs in an efficient manner.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
We use ALEKS extensively with Pre-Algebra students. ALEKS is most helpful in isolating and addressing individual students' specific mathematical needs, which is especially important with college students who are taking a middle school-level math course, specifically Pre-Algebra. These students have missed success with this material on prior occasions, and now need to fill in gaps in their mathematical knowledge.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Conscientious students generally find ALEKS helpful.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
The biggest challenge we face is getting students to spend the time to learn the subject, but ALEKS is helpful in monitoring students' time on task. We have found that requiring students to attend a 45-minute orientation at the beginning of the semester helps students understand how to use the program.

What will you do differently when you implement ALEKS in your future course(s)?
We are discussing requiring students to attend an ALEKS lab at specific times so that we can more closely monitor student progress and address specific issues.

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?
The 45-minute orientation that is given during the second week of the class works well for basic skill-level students. The orientation assures that the students are registered and ready to start working in ALEKS.