McGraw-Hill Education Launches Adaptive Math Placement Platform

To improve placement accuracy and ultimately increase graduation rates while decreasing the need for developmental education in higher education, McGraw-Hill Education has launched ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning, an adaptive, open-response placement and remediation tool for higher education.

ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning uses adaptive technology to quickly and accurately assess students’ knowledge to place them in the college math course best suited to position them for success, according to the company. ALEKS Placement is the first product the company has officially launched since McGraw-Hill Education acquired ALEKS Corporation in June 2013.

"Along with helping to improve placement accuracy, ALEKS Placement, the first adaptive, fully online platform, is a flexible system that provides CIOs and IT managers with the ease of simple setup and delivery of the program," said Stephen Laster, chief digital officer for McGraw-Hill Education.

"Based on preference, institutions can offer students the option of completing the ALEKS Placement program either on campus in a proctored environment, or on their own time wherever there is an internet connection. The solution is mutually beneficial as it not only places students in the best college math courses to position them for success, but it is also a tool that is easy to implement, manage and deliver for administrators," Laster added.

Low college graduation rates of remedial students and the continuous rise in tuition costs in the current market are now more than ever emphasizing the need for successful placement and remediation programs. With more than 50 percent of students in two-year colleges and 20 percent of those in four-year universities inaccurately placed in remedial classes, ALEKS Placement offers a proven approach for accurate math course placement, which is imperative to students’ future success and ultimate college completion. ALEKS Placement enables all students to accelerate out of developmental education and into credit-bearing math courses by assessing and then remediating students for up to six weeks through a personalized study plan. ALEKS Placement helps reduce the time that students need to spend in developmental math courses and in some cases allows students to bypass developmental course work completely.

“Research tells us that students who are incorrectly placed in courses become frustrated, leading to thousands of students who were accepted to college to never show up to class. What’s more, less than 1 in 10 remedial students graduate from community colleges within three years, and we know that inaccurate placement contributes to this problem,” said Brian Kibby, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

“Being the first in the market to introduce a fully adaptive, online assessment platform with ALEKS Placement shows our commitment to improving the developmental education and placement environment within higher education, and will dramatically improve students’ success in college and help them achieve the ultimate goal of graduating,” said Wil Lampros, chief executive officer of ALEKS.

Using adaptive technology, ALEKS Placement rapidly and accurately assesses each student to determine their “ceiling of knowledge” – or where their mastery ends – in a particular subject, the company says. As the only placement testing platform that uses open-response questions instead of the less precise multiple-choice format, ALEKS Placement pinpoints each student’s current knowledge level and delivers targeted learning through a six-week Prep and Learning module. This learning component combines individualized, mastery-based learning with periodic progress assessments to ensure students enter a course prepared and confident. After spending time in the Prep and Learning module, students have the opportunity to take up to four additional assessments, depending on the maximum set by the institution, reducing test anxiety and potentially improving the student’s placement score and course eligibility.

ALEKS Placement is also reimagining math placement through its flexible online format, allowing students to participate in the assessments anytime, anywhere and giving institutions the ease of simple setup and delivery of the program. Based on preference, institutions can offer students the option of completing the ALEKS Placement program either on campus in a proctored environment, or on their own time wherever there is an internet connection.

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