Adaptive Learning     projects

ALT-Placement Project

ALT-Placement Project: Investigating Adaptive Learning Tools for Mathematics Remediation and Placement

Only 28 percent of students enrolled in developmental courses will complete their degrees (Attewell, Lavin, Domina, & Levey, 2006). For most, placement into developmental math courses is determined by their score on a one-time, high-stakes exam taken shortly after being admitted to college. Increasingly, researchers have questioned the validity of these exams and the developmental course “treatment” that is required based on the outcomes of those tests (Medhanie et al., 2012; Melguizo et al., 2014).

In Fall 2017, the Kirwan Center received a $150,000 Phase I planning grant from the Kresge Foundation to explore the efficacy and feasibility of replacing the high-stakes mathematics placement exam process with a process that, instead, empowers students to assess and develop their mathematics knowledge using adaptive learning tools made available to them prior to matriculation. We believe these adaptive learning tools can deliver just-in-time skills remediation while also providing more reliable diagnostics of students’ knowledge, facilitating more accurate math course placements that will increase student success and lower costs by reducing the number of required non-credit developmental courses.

The primary goal of this project was to see if adaptive learning tools hold promise to: 1) more effectively diagnose and remediate mathematics knowledge and skills and, if so, 2) identify the one or two most effective and feasible use cases for further study in a more rigorous Phase II evaluation.

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