adaptive learning

ASU’s Global Freshman Academy will use adaptive ALEKS software

Adaptive learning program to be used by tens of thousands of students enrolled in College Algebra & Problem Solving course

Learning science company McGraw-Hill Education announced that its ALEKS adaptive software program will be used in Arizona State University’s College Algebra & Problem Solving course in its online Global Freshman Academy.

The Global Freshman Academy is a partnership between ASU, the largest public research university in the U.S., and massive open online course (MOOC) provider edX. To date, more than 17,800 students from 186 countries have registered for the College Algebra & Problem Solving course using the ALEKS program, which will provide students with individualized learning and instruct them on the topics they are most ready to learn.

“We are very pleased ALEKS is part of the Global Freshman Academy,” said Stephen Laster, Chief Digital Officer for McGraw-Hill Education. “This is the first time that ALEKS has been available in a MOOC format and thousands of students will now have the opportunity to use this amazing and effective learning program.”

All courses in the Global Freshman Academy are taught online – open to anyone, anywhere – and allow students to earn university credit simply and with little risk. Students can pay $49 up front per course to be on the ID Verified Track, and only pay to receive college credit for the class after they have passed it with a C or better.

“ASU developed the Global Freshman Academy to help make higher education more accessible and affordable around the world,” said Adrian Sannier, Chief Academic Technology Officer for EdPlus at ASU. “ALEKS helps us take one of the most daunting classes – college math – and personalize it to meet students where they are and help them steadily master the concepts critical to their ultimate success.”

ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) provides an individualized experience for K-20 students based on their unique strengths and weaknesses. Through powerful artificial intelligence, ALEKS provides personalized instruction, delivering the exact instruction students need, right when they need it. The ability to assist students at all levels using real-time feedback and inherent motivators results in significant improvements in retention, success and confidence:

  • Using ALEKS for a pre-calculus course for prospective STEM and engineering majors, Clemson University increased the percentage of pre-calculus students who went on to get STEM degrees from 34 percent to 43 percent and engineering degrees from 18 percent to 44 percent.
  • The student pass rate in College Algebra at Ball State University in Indiana climbed from approximately 60 percent to 70 percent after implementing ALEKS.
  • Broward College in Florida saw pass rates rise 14 to 21 percentage points in developmental math and algebra classes using ALEKS versus traditional courses, and experienced significantly lower withdrawal rates.

ALEKS is the product of thirty years of research by software engineers, mathematicians, and cognitive scientists in the application of Knowledge Space Theory. With support from the National Science Foundation, the research efforts by New York University and University of California, Irvine have been transformed into a ground-breaking artificial intelligence engine designed to improve student performance in math.

In 2015, there were 1.7 million paid activations of ALEKS and there have been 3.6 billion interactions on ALEKS since 2010.

ASU’s Global Freshman Academy was launched last fall and provides an alternative way for students to begin the first year of college at their own price and own pace. Taught by two ASU instructors, College Algebra & Problem Solving is a three-credit course that satisfies the Mathematical Studies general studies requirement at ASU and may satisfy a general education requirement at other institutions as well.

Laura Ascione

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