Mathematics & Statistics

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By on Feb 12, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

How ALEKS Helped a Veteran Find Success By Leah Rineck, Sr. Lecturer, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Recently I had a student that was taking my Intermediate Algebra course for the third time. The first time he didn’t make it past the first test and dropped the class. The second time, as he proudly told me “I earned my F,” he made it to the final but had stopped learning early in the semester because he was so confused. This student, Jim (name changed), is a veteran. He has PTSD and math anxiety. At the beginning of the semester Jim was convinced that he was incapable of learning the math that was necessary for him to take his nursing courses. Luckily for him this was the first semester our school was piloting ALEKS with a group work approach in our Intermediate Algebra courses. In our pilot, students used ALEKS as a weekly homework system that was worth 10% of the final grade. ALEKS was set up with weekly goals that corresponded directly to what was being taught in the classroom that week. The ultimate goal was for students to reach 100% in the ALEKS Pie by the time they took the final. Jim came to class the first day and sat in the front row. He logged into ALEKS right away and got to work. His ALEKS Initial Assessment score was below where he should have been for that course. He had many gaps to fill before he was able to move on. After he took his assessment, he emailed me and complained. I had him come see me in my office to discuss the results. I explained that he was missing the prerequisite knowledge needed, but because we are using ALEKS he can fill in those gaps and move ahead. He was not excited at the idea that he would have to put in extra work, but he knew deep down that he needed it. He really wanted to go into nursing and needed this class to move forward. Jim came to my office hours on a regular basis. He kept up with every single ALEKS assignment. He emailed me on weekends, even if it was sometimes to complain about...

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