Discover Your Strategies > The Tools for Earning Credit Independently

Another unique credit accumulation option is ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces). It is a web-based, artificial intelligence learning system that assesses each student as they progress through a subject and tailors the course content as they learn. It is based on mathematical cognitive science research at New York University and the University of California at Irvine, and funded through a grant by the National Science Foundation.

They offer more than 50 courses in all, from basic math to pre-calculus, but nine have received ACE recommendation for college credit. Courses are 100% online, with no textbooks or manuals, and are completely self-paced. The courses begin by pinpointing which skills a student has mastered and then instructs them on new topics as they are ready to learn.

The nine courses approved by ACE include:

ALEKS benefits students who plan to graduate from a college where ACE credit is accepted. Students may want to consider taking these courses if they can because they are a very affordable and creative option. Each course costs only $19.95 per student per month.

Students begin each course with an assessment test, so the program knows exactly where to place them. Then they progress through instruction, review, and tests until they achieve a 70% mastery of the subject. The courses are divided into sections and students advance to new sections once they master previous ones. If a student has difficulty understanding a problem, they can access a step-by-step explanation. Some students benefit from using additional programs such as Mathway or Algebrator for additional explanations of complicated problems.

The amount of time it takes most students to complete a course varies. Students with no prior knowledge of a subject often take 40 or more hours to finish a subject. ALEKS courses are done entirely independently and there are no proctored tests. Students pass the course when the assessment tests have been successfully completed.

There are no admission requirements to take an ALEKS course and they are open to everyone. Younger students and adult learners often benefit from these courses because of the flexibility they offer. There is no pressure to move at a fast pace which allows younger students the freedom to study and review a great deal if they need to in order to pass a college level course.




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