ALEKS altered due to last year remarks

Tamonda Griffiths — Editor-in-Chief

In response to different “remarks” made last academic year about the ALEKS program, several changes have been made, said the vice president of Student Government Association’s board of academic experience, Sarah Gossman.

“The first big change [Math Emporium Coordinator Elizabeth Hart] made – she made workshops a requirement,” said Gossman, “so each student had to attend two workshops.”

Gossman said the workshops were meant to teach students enrolled in the ALEKS program study and time management skills along with what is expected of them to complete the program.

She and SGA vice president, Brooke Mercaldi, Gossman said had brought up this concern in the previous academic year and were “happy” to see them being addressed.

According to Gossman, over the summer, trainers from McGraw Hill administered a two-hour mandatory session to teach professors and student workers in how to better serve students struggling in the course.

“There are now 45 workers in the Math Emporium, desk and lab people,” said Gossman, “and there’s even tutors within classrooms too.”

The Emporium hours, Gossman said, have been extended for those in consideration of students who may be juggling work and school and need later access to the lab space.

In addition, she said students can also find resources in the Academic Success Center from the Math Zone, Peer Academic Leaders or Academic Success coaching, depending upon who their professor may be and what
their specific need may be concerning ALEKS.

“We are very appreciative to Liz Hart for actually listening to our concerns,” said Gossman.

Another change implemented, Gossman said was a new system called engagement points.

“The more active you are on ALEKS, the more actively participating you are, you get more of those points added on to your grade,” said Gossman.

According to Math education major, Michael Smith, a freshman, engagement points account for at least 30 to 40 percent of his grade.

“The way my professor has explained it because I’m not in the math lab, I’m upstairs in the library,” said Smith, “if you do everything you’re asked, if you work in class, go two hours, even three in the lab those points – engagement points – like if you do what is asked of you, you get a D,” said Smith.
While he understands a D will be the grade, he receives for doing the bare minimum, Smith said his professor did not inform him of the amount of work he would have to do to get a higher grade.

Math Emporium tutor, Siddhi Suresh broke down how engagement points work.

“If you go for your two hours, every minute you get two points,” said Suresh, “whereas if you work on it at home you only get one point per minute. So, it’s definitely encouraged for students to go to the Math Emporium.”

According to Suresh, students need 7,800 engagement points by the end of the semester to achieve a D- and 10,500 points to achieve an A. The maximum amount of engagement points, she said students can earn in a semester is 15,000.

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