ALEKS - Assessment and Learning

7.2 The Instructor and ALEKS


ALEKS is often used in regular classroom settings.
The instructor in an ALEKS course need not be collecting, correcting, or distributing papers, organizing groups, managing materials, giving instructions, or supervising activities. The instructor in an ALEKS course may be just as busy teaching statistics to individual learners: getting one student started on a new topic, checking another student's work, responding to questions, suggesting alternate methods and explanations, making or reinforcing connections among concepts, and congratulating those who add an item to their pie. ALEKS provides comprehensive support to the student in every phase of its use; the instructor will find that the additional direct support given this way is especially productive. The relation of teacher and student is based on knowledge and discovery, not management and sanction. No one is "behind" in ALEKS; setbacks are readily addressed and overcome; every student can expect to make progress and be recognized.
It is important, especially in the early stages of an ALEKS course, to be generous in recognizing student progress. Students need to understand that when they add an item to their pie, or show progress in a new assessment (knowledge check), it is an achievement. At the same time, formal rewards for the effective use of ALEKS need to be built into the course structure and made clear from the outset (Sec. 7.3).
Students will be assessed at the beginning of their use of ALEKS (following Registration and the Tutorial), and at regular intervals after that. The instructor does not need to supervise all ALEKS assessments; normally, students will be using ALEKS both in and out of the classroom, and taking assessments at various times and locations. Once the students realize that the purpose of the ALEKS assessment is to provide appropriate material in the Learning Mode, there will be little reason to get help, use the textbook or calculator inappropriately, or in any other way achieve inaccurate assessment results.
We recommend supervising the Initial Assessment (Knowledge Check). The students may need assistance in their first use of the system, they will need to be reassured that the assessment is not for a grade, and it is important to get valid results on this Initial Assessment, so that that the students' work in the Learning Mode will be productive from the start. For the instructor's own information, other supervised assessments may also be held at regular intervals to provide accurate "snapshots" of overall progress by the course (Sec. 7.10). We suggest that such supervised assessments be scheduled at the midpoint and end of the class. Also, any assessment results which may be used as a component in the students' grades should, of course, be obtained from supervised assessments.
NOTE. In cases where students do not seem to be making adequate progress in ALEKS, the student may have received help, or inappropriately used a calculator on an unsupervised assessment, skewing the assessment results and leading to inappropriate material in the Learning Mode. This can be corrected by requesting a new assessment for the student.