IUP Announces New Approach to Developmental Math Experience

Posted on 8/22/2014 3:32:49 PM

The Division of Academic Affairs, in conjunction with the Departments of Mathematics and Developmental Studies, is pleased to announce an exciting new approach to IUP’s developmental math experience. 

Nationally, and at IUP, developmental math courses often present a significant challenge for many students, resulting in high course D/F/W rates and delayed progress to graduation. Fortunately, recent technological and pedagogical innovations now make it possible for IUP to implement a customized math learning experience that has a proven track record of facilitating significant improvement in math outcomes.

Beginning in fall 2014, the departments of Developmental Studies and Mathematics, in collaboration with Provost Timothy Moerland, are implementing adaptive computer software, Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS), in all developmental math courses (DVST 093, 095, and Math 100). ALEKS is adaptive computer software that customizes the math learning experience based on students’ demonstrated mastery of skills, and then allows students to progress through units devoted to these skills at their own pace.

Students’ use of ALEKS will be complemented with classroom support from course instructors and trained undergraduate peer tutors. Tutors will be available in class and in sessions outside of class. The combination of a tailored learning experience with increased individualized assistance has been shown to significantly improve performance in developmental math courses, important building blocks for undergraduate success.

Advantages for Students

  • An individualized developmental math experience that allows students to avoid unnecessary review of previously mastered concepts
  • Greater skill mastery in less time, leading to fewer course repeats (tuition savings)
  • Reduced cost for class materials (access to ALEKS versus multiple texts)
  • Greater access to live assistance from course instructors and tutors

The implementation of ALEKS for developmental math has two phases:

  1. 2014–15: DVST 093 and 095 and MATH 100 classes will be scheduled in existing computer classrooms with regular instructors and one undergraduate peer tutor per section. Students will use ALEKS during class, and will also be required to use it for two additional hours outside of class per week. Peer tutors will be available in class and during tutoring hours. Placement will be done using the current COMPASS system. 
  2. 2015–16: The ALEKS program will be used in an emporium-style classroom setting in which multiple sections of MATH and DVST math courses can be simultaneously scheduled, with greater instructional and peer support provided. Math placement testing will transition to ALEKS in summer 2015.

For questions and more information, please contact either Francisco Alarcón, chair of the Mathematics Department, or Melvin Jenkins, chair of Developmental Studies. 

Division of Academic Affairs