ALEKS - Assessment and Learning

9.1 General


General questions on ALEKS concern what it is, its purpose, and what it contains.

What is ALEKS?
ALEKS is an online educational software program based on a cycle of assessment and learning. ALEKS course products include Mathematics, Statistics, Accounting, Business, and Chemistry. By knowing exactly which concepts the student has mastered and which are new but within reach, ALEKS enables the student to work on those concepts they are most ready to learn. ALEKS is a full-time automated tutor, including explanations, practice and feedback. ALEKS interacts closely with the student, continuously updating its precise map of the student's knowledge state. ALEKS combines the advantages of one-on-one instruction and evaluation with the convenience of being on-call, on your computer, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cost of ALEKS is a small fraction of the cost of a human tutor.

What makes ALEKS different?

A great many important differences exist between ALEKS and other kinds of "educational software," including its finely individualized instructional features, easy access over the Internet, rigorous and comprehensive educational content, and full-featured course-management module for instructors and administrators. A critical difference is the capacity of ALEKS for efficient, precise, comprehensive, and qualitative assessment. This not only makes it a valuable tool for monitoring educational progress, but also enables it to provide students with the material they are most able to learn at a particular time. Students will not be given material they have already mastered, or topics for which they have not yet demonstrated prerequisite knowledge.

ALEKS is a self-contained learning environment, with complete sets of practice and explanatory units needed for the subjects that it covers. The units may also be referenced or linked to textbooks for extended treatment of concepts. There is an online student dictionary accessed by clicking on underlined terms (hypertext links), and a diagnostic feedback facility that, in many cases, is able to explain the nature of misunderstandings and errors made by students.

For instructors, ALEKS offers a complete administrative and monitoring facility through which individual and group progress can be checked, standards established, enrollment managed, and messages exchanged. ALEKS can be configured for use with diverse educational standards.

ALEKS is not a game or "edutainment." It is an automated educational tool with robust, carefully-designed features for both learners and educators.

What are the parts or "modules" of ALEKS?
The principal "modules" of ALEKS are the Assessment Mode (assessments are also called "knowledge checks"), in which student knowledge is rigorously assessed, the Learning Mode, where students work on mastering specific concepts, the Instructor Module, in which instructors and administrators are able to monitor student progress and carry out administrative functions, and the Administrator Account, which permits management and monitoring of an arbitrary number of separate institutions, such as those making up a multi-campus college system. There is also a Tutorial (which students take when first registering with the system), online help, a statistical dictionary, graphic display of assessment results and learning progress, and many other features.

Why is ALEKS on the Internet?
ALEKS is available on the Internet so that a student who has registered with the system can use it from any suitable computer, in any location. No disks, CD's, peripherals, or backup facilities are required.