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Using Computer Adaptive Testing Software in a College Environment George Alexander UW Rock County Eric Key and Richard O’Malley UW-Milwaukee

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Difficulties Teaching Pre-College Mathematics at the College Level Diverse student skill base “One size fits all” model Inefficient use of instructional time Diversion of student effort from degree objectives Diversion of university resources

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Project Goals Identify ways to: Help students avoid needless review Help students achieve accurate mathematics placements Enable teachers to target instruction to the individual needs of students Engage students as active learners

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Possible Remedy: Computer Adaptive Testing Computer adaptive testing is a cyclical process Assess the students’ current skill set Provide a list of topics that can reasonably be studied from that skill set Assess student progress and identify new topics to study This works on an individualized basis

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Two implementations Computer Adaptive Testing in a Classroom Setting Beginning Algebra at UW-Rock County College Algebra at UW-Milwaukee Computer Adaptive Testing as a Means of Review Before Starting Coursework Math PEP Product Choice: ALEKS - Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces

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Access to ALEKS Standard Internet requirements Plug-in download required Math Lab/Computer Lab/Library/Home www.highed.aleks.com

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Beginning Algebra: ALEKS at UW Rock County Require a minimum of: 45 hours of ALEKS usage 75% of ALEKS topics mastered Recommend 90 hours of ALEKS usage Give in-class exams to confirm mastery Final Exam: UW Math Placement retest

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ALEKS at UW Rock County Class meets in lab with 25 computers Students work independently in and out of class Individual instruction during class period Student tutor available 5 hours per week

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Initial ALEKS assessments UW Rock County, Spring 2002

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Recent ALEKS assessments UW Rock County, Spring 2002 (midterm)

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Assessments vs. Hours of Usage UW Rock County, Spring 2002 (midterm)

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College Algebra : ALEKS at UW Milwaukee Base Text: Barnett, Ziegler, Byleen ALEKS and Text are linked Course consists of two types of topics Readiness for College Algebra College Algebra proper

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College Algebra : ALEKS at UW Milwaukee Recommended minimum 70 hours of ALEKS usage Required: 100% mastery of readiness items 70% of ALEKS topics mastered for C All exams administered by ALEKS

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College Algebra : ALEKS at UW Milwaukee Initial ALEKS Assessment has two components Readiness for College Algebra (40 items) College Algebra Material (99 items)

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Initial Readiness Assessment Including Dropped Students

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ALEKS College Algebra Progress

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ALEKS College Algebra Overall Progress

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College Algebra Progress: Items Learned/hours Spent

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Mathematics Placement Enhancement Program (Math PEP) How to increase math placement retesting? 90% place lower than last high school course taken 5% retest 65% test below math required for admission Too few UWM students repeat the Mathematics Placement Exam!

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Math PEP Convincing Students to Retest Identify Students who just missed a higher placement Work with Advising Check University Records Mass mailing Individual Phone Calls to Selected Candidates

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Math PEP Participation Factors influencing students’ choices Comfort level of Current Placement Disenchantment with placement into Non-Credit Courses Willingness to take classes that repeat high school work even if degrees are delayed

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Math PEP Structure Use software to verify students’ current placement Use software to monitor individual student review Provide computer resources Provide encouragement to review Encourage students to re-test Advise students on future courses

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Math PEP Outcomes 31% more students re-tested than in 2000 80% of Math PEP students in pre-algebra re- placed into algebra courses vs 59% of others 56% of Math PEP students in non-credit courses re-placed into credit courses vs 49% of others 8% of Math PEP students in credit courses re-placed higher vs 28% of others 96% of Math PEP students re-placed at least as high vs 89% of others

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Math PEP Outcomes 750 students contacted 72 students reviewed 48 students retested 54% tested higher 140 others retested 50% of these tested higher

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Students Retesting

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Placement Code 00 Retesting Results 56 Students Retested With Original Placement Code 00. 46 did not participate in Math PEP 10 participated in Math PEP Math PEP participants did markedly better!

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Level 00 Retesting Results

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Placement Code 10 Retesting Results 66 Students Retested With Original Placement Code 10. 40 did not participate in Math PEP 26 participated in Math PEP Math PEP participants did slightly better!

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Level 10 Retesting Results

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Placement Code 20 Retesting Results 41 Students Retested With Original Placement Code 20. 29 did not participate in Math PEP 12 participated in Math PEP Non-Math PEP participants did significantly better!

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Level 20 Retesting Results

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Initial Distribution of Placement Codes

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Final Distribution of Placement Codes

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Non Math PEP Before and After

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Math PEP Before and After

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