October 15, 2012
Shawnee State University is testing a new math learning tool called Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces, "ALEKS" for short. ALEKS will act as a Web-based placement test, both measuring students' skills and tutoring them in subjects that are difficult for them.
ALEKS begins by teaching the student how to use the program in a basic tutorial, then delivers a "personalized interactive assessment." The assessment consists of 25-30 questions focusing on a wide variety of math subjects.
"The summer math bridge program was a pilot project that gave students that participated the opportunity to improve and/or refresh their math skills and possibly improve their math placement," said Professor Krista Maxson, Chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
After the assessment, the student views a pie chart of the various subjects on the test and has the option to learn more about each one; clicking on one of the pie segments opens "Learning Mode." Learning Mode explains how to perform each subject, offering in-depth explanations and practice problems for the student. In addition, the student can review recent problems or print out a worksheet for additional practice.
"I have never been good at math in high school and I was terrified coming to college because I knew I would have to take math again," said Jessica Hardesty. "Now, math is one of my best classes."
Finally, ALEKS incorporates both a student report and a calendar to help students organize their assignments and review their grades.
FLUOR and the SSU Development Foundation sponsored the program.