ALEKS PPL is a complete solution that combines a research-based, adaptive math placement assessment with a personalized learning and remediation plan. Because of this unique combination, ALEKS PPL provides students with a real opportunity to achieve success.
Students first take an initial placement assessment to understand what math skills they know and don’t know. The results of the placement assessment carry into a Prep and Learning Module to give students an opportunity to refresh their math skills. Students can then take up to four additional placement assessments to improve their score and course placement.
The Placement Assessment covers 314 topics, ranging from basic math to trigonometry, in 30 questions or less. The assessment can be proctored or unproctored and includes Respondus LockDown Browser.
The Placement Assessment will adapt to the individual student. ALEKS will adjust its questioning after each answer the student submits. For example, if a student answers a question correctly, ALEKS can identify all the skills required to have gotten that question right. With one answer submission, we can make sometimes dozens of inferences about the skill set of a student.
All questions are free response, with an emphasis on replicating the pen-to-paper experience. This helps truly assess a student’s mastery of the material and eliminates the ability to guess. We encourage students to take their time and do their best.
The Initial Placement Assessment will never ask students more than 30 questions, and by the time they are finished, ALEKS PPL will have a precise picture of what math skills each student knows, doesn’t know, and is ready to learn.
Upon completing the assessment, students see their placement results page. The number in the circle represents the percentage of the 314 topics assessed that the student knows. This score is what students use to determine their placement. Institutions can include a cut score table and a link to a webpage with their placement policies and course eligibility. If a student isn’t happy with his or her score, they will have the opportunity to improve it.
Students are also given a detailed breakdown of their results so they understand how they performed in each topic area.
Students are guided to their Prep and Learning Module and encouraged to take advantage by working to improve their score.
Institutions can decide if they want students to select the prep module on their own or to have ALEKS automatically assign them one. ALEKS will always recommend a Prep and Learning Module based on their Initial Placement Assessment performance.
Once a Prep and Learning Module has been selected, students log into the learning module homepage. The results of their initial placement assessment will populate the pie. Students will click on “start my path” to begin working on math topics. The goal of these visuals is to fuel students’ motivation by providing them with direction and insight into their daily work and overall progress on course goals.
There are options to set a mandatory “cooling off” period and to require students to work in the Prep and Learning Module before taking another assessment. Our research shows of the students who spend time in the Prep and Learning Module, then reassess, 82% improve their course placement by at least one course.
The learning path brings students to a learning page where they are presented with an explanation for the topic. Students can click “start” to begin practicing, or they can select a different topic to work on from the drop down carousel.
One thing that separates ALEKS from other systems is that students will only be presented with topics that they are “ready to learn”. ALEKS has gathered and analyzed data from millions of students in order to continually understand how topics are related. Based on what a student currently knows, ALEKS can pinpoint which topics a student has at least a 94% chance of being successful on… these topics are deemed the “ready to learn” topics.
ALEKS asks students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic by completing several practice problems, ideally without using the help aids. This is to ensure that they are truly learning the topic and not mimicking a procedure.
Should they need it, students can access an Explanation to see a walk-through of how to do the problem, and its solution. If they do access the Explanation, ALEKS will then give a new iteration of the problem for the student to attempt. ALEKS is typically looking for students to successfully work through three practice problems without using help. Sometimes it takes more practice, and sometimes less.
The spaces in the Progress Bar in the top, right corner will fill in as the students answer questions for the topic. Students quickly learn that they are more efficient if they attempt the problems in earnest rather than using the explanation as a crutch. But of course, the support is there if they need it.
As a student learns in ALEKS PPL, they will experience Celebrations and moments of encouragement. One key finding of our student research taught us that students who are less confident in their math ability were motivated by “small wins” throughout their learning experience.
Students also have access to reports to track their progress and stay motivated to reach the placement score they desire.
The Learning Pie Report show details about how students are progressing in their Prep and Learning Modules. For each student’s individualized path, ALEKS is determining which topics they are most ready to learn and presenting those first. This keeps students working efficiently.
ALEKS PPL expands on the confidence that students build completing topics in Learning Mode by providing them with a chance to prove mastery and retention of concepts during Knowledge Checks.
Knowledge Checks occur when a student spends 5 hours in ALEKS and learns 20 topics. This personalized check assesses whether students have mastered and retained content topics they’ve recently learned.
Advisors, proctors, and administrators can view each student’s Knowledge Check progress via the Learning Progress Report in their PPL account. They, and the student, will have a breakdown of topics learned, topics mastered, and topics left to learn.
It’s this cycle of learning and assessment in ALEKS that boosts student confidence and their assessment scores. Students must complete a topic’s practice problems multiple times without using help aids, and then show retention of the topic on their knowledge checks. We see students not only place into their desired course, but perform better in the course because they’ve proven true understanding of the material.