U Illinois Adopts ALEKS for Math Placement

McGraw-Hill Higher Education announced Monday that it has entered into a contract with the University of Illinois to provide the Web-based ALEKS system in an effort to help increase accurate student class placements.

The ALEKS system, developed by researchers from New York University and the University of California, Irvine, is a 45-minute assessment that uses artificial intelligence to gauge a student's current math knowledge. According to the publishers, the assessment avoids the use of multiple-choice questions in order to more accurately assess their level of understanding.

"Before ALEKS, the SAT and ACT exams along with high school transcripts, were the only measurement tools used to gauge students' math capabilities. The use of these tools alone often prevented us from accurately determining the proper math course placement for students," said Alison Ahlgren, coordinator for math placement at the University of Illinois, in a prepared statement. "With ALEKS, we've been able to fundamentally shift our approach to math assessment, resulting in a more successful math placement and greater student retention rates."

The university had previously been using ALEKS for the last two years in a non-contractual capacity in an effort to help reduce failure rates among math students.

About the Author

Chris Riedel is a freelance writer based in Illinois. He can be reached here.

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