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 California, Santa Cruz, CA
4 Year University / Public

Scenario: I use ALEKS in a traditional course without a textbook.
Purpose: Supplement, Preparation, Remediation
ALEKS Course: College Algebra with Trigonometry

Edward Migliore, Lecturer
Several of my students who are from traditionally underrepresented groups told me that the review and remediation provided in ALEKS has been integral to their successful completion of Calculus. Additionally, students who were not sufficiently prepared for Calculus really appreciate the opportunity to catch up. Since then, I have been making students aware of ALEKS and encouraging them to independently participate.


Scenario

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: 1
Number of students per ALEKS section: 204
Total students enrolled in this ALEKS course: 204

How do you structure your course periods with ALEKS?
ALEKS is completed independently by the students. The completion date coincides with the date of the first midterm.


Implementation

Please describe how you implement ALEKS into your course curriculum.
ALEKS is completed independently by the students. The completion date coincides with the date of the first midterm.

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 use the Instructor Module a few times throughout the term.

How do you incorporate ALEKS scheduled Assessments into your course?
The assessments are used to fill in the ALEKS Pie. The total completion by the date of the first midterm contributes 15 percent of the final grade.


Grading

What percent of a student's grade does ALEKS make up?
ALEKS is worth ten percent of the final grade.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
My grading scale is as follows: ALEKS is worth 10 percent, homework is worth 10 percent, midterms are worth 50 percent (two at 25 percent each), and the final exam is worth 30 percent.

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities?
ALEKS is part of the total homework load. During the first few weeks of the quarter, ALEKS is 20-50 percent of the total homework load, depending upon the amount of remediation and review required. After the first mid-term, students do not work in ALEKS.

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

How do you track student progress in ALEKS?
I use the automatic assessments to indicate a degree of mastery for each student's score.

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?
Not necessarily. Some students came to the course better prepared and were able to use ALEKS as a self-assessment and remediation tool.

Would you attribute any improved student performance in the course to ALEKS methodology or to some other factor?
For students who required review and remediation of College Algebra and Trigonometry content, ALEKS was most likely responsible, at least in part, for their success.


Learning Outcomes

Please describe the learning outcomes your students have achieved using ALEKS.
Several of my students who are from traditionally underrepresented groups told me that the review and remediation provided in ALEKS has been integral to their successful completion of the course. Since then I have been making students aware of the program and encouraging them to independently participate.

In general, how do the students feel about their progress in ALEKS?
Students who were not sufficiently prepared for Calculus really appreciate the opportunity to catch up. Several students told me that they did not think they would have been successful without ALEKS.


Best Practices

What challenges did you encounter when first implementing ALEKS and how can other instructors avoid these pitfalls?
The main challenge was that many of the students resisted one more requirement for the class. I told them that if they were truly prepared and did not need ALEKS, then they should be able to demonstrate mastery in a very short time, possibly even the first assessment.

Which ALEKS course product(s) have you used in the past?
Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra with Trigonometry, Introduction to Statistics