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.

South Suburban College, IL
2 Year Community College

Scenario: I use ALEKS in an online course without a textbook.
Purpose: Online Course
ALEKS Course: Beginning Algebra

Marybeth Beno, Mathematics Department Chair
Overall, it can be said that students who complete significant percentages of their ALEKS topics produce high grades in the course.


Scenario

Was ALEKS used in your course with all students or with targeted students?
All students in this course use ALEKS.

Number of students who used ALEKS for the course and term:
Number of sections: 2
Number of students per ALEKS section: 16
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 16

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
This course is completely online.

How often are students encouraged or required to use ALEKS?
Days per week: 4
Hours per week: 16
Hours per term: 128

For the sections that do NOT use ALEKS during this specific term, what do they work on in place of ALEKS?
Other sections were in a regular lecture class.


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
We use the ALEKS Content Editor to select the specific topics to be included in our Beginning Algebra course. We then match the ALEKS topics to those in our department created course outline.

Do you cover ALEKS topics in a particular order?
The order is determined by ALEKS according to the student's initial assessment and Pie chart.

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?
I require students to complete the automatic assessments as they occur, and did not authorize an assessment to be skipped or omitted.


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
ALEKS topics are worth 33 percent of the final grade.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS topics are worth 33 percent of the final grade. The final exam comprises the remainder of the grade.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
ALEKS is the entire homework load.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I provide benchmarks for each week of summer school as a strong recommendation, and back it up with statistics from other semesters. The benchmarks are not mandatory, however, since I really believe in the self-paced aspect of ALEKS.

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I use ALEKS reports to monitor student progress.

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?
For the most part yes, however I did notice that some summer school students passed their final exams without completing a significant number of ALEKS topics.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
The built-in cycle of assessment and learning in ALEKS really helps students.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
I have compiled some interesting statistics regarding the correlation between final grades and ALEKS completed topics. My final grade is computed by multiplying the non-ALEKS final exam by two-thirds, then adding it to the product of the percent of completed topics in ALEKS multiplied by one-third; I use a traditional grading scale (60-70-80-90) for the course. The statistics are listed in the following format: Final grade: Percent of completed topics. The results for those who succeeded in passing the course with a C or above are as follows: B:83, C:27, C:43, C:42, C:62, B:47, B:82, B:94. The striking aspect of these results is that a number of these summer school students passed their final exams without completing a significant number of ALEKS topics. I attribute these discrepancies to our placement process at the time, and the lack of structure in summer school classes that often occurs. Overall, it can be said that students who complete significant percentages of their ALEKS topics produce high grades in the course.


Best Practices

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