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.

Lincoln Land Community College, IL
2 Year Community College

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

Bill Shaw, Instructor


Scenario

What challenges did your students or institution face prior to using ALEKS?
We implemented ALEKS merely to offer students another method to take math courses. I'm not aware of any problems or challenges that we meant to address by offering ALEKS to our students, it was merely for diversity in our course offerings.

Was ALEKS used in your course with all students or with targeted students?
ALEKS is used with all students.

Number of students who used ALEKS for the course and term:
Number of sections: 1
Number of students per ALEKS section: 9
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 9

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
The full class time is dedicated to working in ALEKS. Occasionally, I take students, a few at a time, into another room for mini-lectures on selected topics; I also assist students individually throughout the morning. We meet for four hours each Saturday morning of the semester. In addition to this section of Intermediate Algebra, I also conduct five additional ALEKS-based sections of different math courses in the same lab at the same time.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: Students are encouraged to use ALEKS each day.
Hours per week: 10
Hours per term: 80


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
The full class time is dedicated to working in ALEKS. Occasionally, I take students, a few at a time, into another room for mini-lectures on selected topics; I also assist students individually throughout the morning. We meet for four hours each Saturday morning of the semester. In addition to this section of Intermediate Algebra, I also conduct five additional ALEKS-based sections of different math courses in the same lab at the same time.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
I do not.  I allow the students to guide themselves through any topic within ALEKS that they are allowed by the ALEKS algorithm.  Occasionally, if a student is struggling with a particular topic, I redirect them to another, however.

How often do you use the ALEKS Instructor Module?
I use the Instructor Module periodically throughout the term.

How do you use information from ALEKS to focus your teaching?
I would say that I do not use ALEKS to focus my teaching, but that I d use the ALEKS reporting features to focus my students.  At the beginning of each class period, I discuss in particular the amount of time that each student has spent using ALEKS through the week prior. We pull this up together while signed in to ALEKS.


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
ALEKS comprises 70 percent of the final grade. A final is done on paper in class, and it has a 30 percent weight.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I average the students' performance on tests, quizzes, and homework (all done within ALEKS), and give that average a 40 percent weight in the calculation of their final grade. The percentage of achievement on the ALEKS Pie accounts for 20 percent of the final grade. The in-class, non-ALEKS final exam carries 30 percent of the total course grade. Finally, the percentage of 80 hours per quarter that they spend working independently within ALEKS carries 10 percent of the weighted average of the course grade.

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

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are required to complete a minimum of ten hours per week of independent work within ALEKS.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I look at how much time students are spending per week using ALEKS, and at the expected weeks necessary to reach the goal calculation in ALEKS. I have found that so long as students put in the time, the goal is well within their reach.


Best Practices

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