Skip Navigation
Hispanic Serving Institution (Title V - HSI)
Member, Texas Tech University System The Princeton Review - 373 Best Colleges, 2011 Edition

Developmental Math

Title V Strategies to Improve
Developmental Math Success Rates

  • Develop a complete restructuring of the developmental math program, implementing Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS).
  • Create bridging opportunities to fast-track students with only marginal deficiencies.
  • Coordinate with Supplemental Instruction and the Tutor Center to help provide best practices in terms of Math Lab tutors and opportunities for students to receive additional assistance.
  • Work with the HSI outreach coordinator to improve academic readiness of regional high school graduates.

What is ALEKS?

ALEKS stands for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces. It is a research-based software solution founded on the theory of knowledge spaces. Originally developed by university researchers with National Science Foundation grant support, ALEKS is now a commercially available product used successfully in universities across the country. Institutions successfully implementing ALEKS in mathematics programs include Abilene Christian University, Texas A&M International University and the University of Texas at El Paso. (The latter two are Hispanic Serving Institutions.)

ALEKS: Assessment of LEarning in Knowledge Spaces

  • ALEKS provides the advantages of 24/7 one-on-one instruction from virtually any Web-based computer for a fraction of the cost of a human tutor.
  • ALEKS uses adaptive questioning assessment methodology to quickly and accurately assess student skills. It then instructs students on the topics they are most ready to learn.
  • As students work though a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the students to ensure that topics learned are also retained.
  • ALEKS courses are complete in their topic coverage and avoid multiple-choice questions.
  • Students re-entering the system after a break are automatically returned to the place where they were last working. This is true even if the departure was caused by unexpected loss of connectivity to the Internet or a personal computer crash.
  • ALEKS offers a comprehensive message center that allows students to communicate with their instructors about the content using subject-appropriate notation.
  • Many topics are available in both English and Spanish. A pull-down menu labeled “Español” is available.


More About the Program

This new program will be a hybrid, using both technology and touch. Artificial intelligence-driven software will determine each student’s individual competence in developmental mathematics, and will then provide instruction and assessment on those topics the student is ready to learn. This will be combined with direct face-to-face faculty instruction and the accountability that software solutions have difficulty supplying. The self-paced nature of the class will allow relatively well-prepared and motivated students to master their deficiencies as rapidly as they choose. At the same time, students with greater areas of weakness will not have to “move on” with the class until they have mastered the preliminary topics that are necessary for success in mastering later topics.

Implementation of ALEKS will be led by Dr. Paul K. Swets, head of the Mathematics Department. For more information about math resources available, visit the Math Lab Web page.


To increase success rates and decrease course repeats in the developmental math sequence, leading to increased progression to college-level mathematics. (The success rate is defined as grades of A, B and C.)

Program Services

In conjunction with the Title V HSI grant, ASU plans to provide various program services, including workshops, presentations and developmental programs and services. They will include, but not be limited to, the following areas: