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Using Online Assessment and Practice to Achieve Better Retention and Placement in Precalculus and Calculus

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

The Transition from Secondary to College Mathematics

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1433.1 - 25.1433.12



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Paper Authors


Alex Feldman Boise State University

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Alex Feldman is Associate Professor Emeritus of mathematics and computer science at Boise State University. He received a M.A. and a Ph.D. in mathematics and a M.S. in computer science from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is presently doing statistical studies on lower division courses in the Mathematics Department.

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Doug Bullock Boise State University

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Doug Bullock is Chair and Associate Professor of mathematics at Boise State University. His research interests are in low dimensional topology, representation theory, quantum topology, and STEM education at the post-secondary level.

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Janet Callahan Boise State University Orcid 16x16

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Janet Callahan is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the College of Engineering at Boise State University and a professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department. Callahan received her Ph.D. in materials science, her M.S. in metallurgy, and her B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Connecticut. Her educational research interests include freshmen engineering programs, math success, K-12 STEM curriculum and accreditation, and retention and recruitment of STEM majors.

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Effects of an Online Assessment on Student Behavior and Performance in Precalculus and Calculus CoursesIn the fall of 2008 [State University] began using an ALEKS (Assessment and Learning inKnowledge Spaces)1 assessment as an initial exam in Precalculus and Calculus courses. This isa roughly 2 hour, online, unproctored assessment of algebra and other precalculus topics. In2009 we reported on the effects this had on pass rates in the two courses.2 In this paper willrecap the history of the last 4 years of ALEKS assessments, discuss pro’s and con’s of using theassessment, and address two fundamental questions: (1) What effect does the required ALEKSassessment have on student behavior and performance? (2) Is the effect valuable enough tocontinue the practice? Although there are no hard answers, and much information is anecdotal,we revisit the pass rate data and introduce additional metrics that are pertinent to these questions.1. ALEKS, http://www.aleks.com2. Reference to authors earlier work (omitted during blind review).       

Feldman, A., & Bullock, D., & Callahan, J. (2012, June), Using Online Assessment and Practice to Achieve Better Retention and Placement in Precalculus and Calculus Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22190

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