University of Northwestern - Saint Paul

General Chemistry

University of Northwestern - Saint Paul

Why did you choose alta?

I wanted to see if an interactive homework experience would benefit students more than other methods of assigning homework. With problems assigned from a textbook or through an online homework system, a student has the sense that “part of my grade is riding on every homework problem that I do” and therefore every mistake in the homework will ultimately count against them.  With alta, the student doesn’t need to worry as much about making mistakes because the goal is to achieve proficiency and not merely to complete all of the problems in an assignment. I think this encourages students to press on to the end, knowing that a “perfect” score is attainable to any student who puts in enough time and effort.

How do you use alta in your course?

Homework assignments in alta count for 20% of the grade. Another 20% is based on lab work, and the remainder on quizzes and exams.

How did alta impact student performance in your course?

In the survey administered to the students at the final exam, 35  out of the 37 students responded “better” to the question “Overall, do you feel like you performed better or worse in this class because of the work you did in Knewton alta?”  The other two students reported “the same” and not “worse.” To the question “Overall, how helpful was Knewton alta to your learning in this course?”, the responses were:

How effective was alta in helping your students achieve proficiency?

To measure alta’s impact on student proficiency, we analyzed the results that Daniel's students achieved working in alta.

What do you like most about alta?

Students like it! They seem much more willing to work through the problems in alta than in other formats that I have used for homework in the past.

What advice would you give instructors considering adopting alta to help get them started?

Based on student feedback, you owe it to students to at least try the adaptive learning capabilities of the alta system compared to “static” homework assignments.

How did Daniel's results compare to those of other instructors using alta?

To measure alta’s impact on mastery across instructors, institutions and disciplines, Knewton analyzed the results of more than 10,000 students who used alta in 2017. The high-level findings:

  • Students using alta demonstrate proficiency by completing assignments at high rates.
  • Completing alta assignments is directly correlated with better performance on summative assessments.
  • Alta provides the biggest benefit to students who need it most.