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Two New Research Studies Show Positive Results for Students Using McGraw-Hill’s ALEKS Adaptive Learning Technology

Efficacy Studies Show Significant Learning Gains for College Students Who Used ALEKS Compared to Those Who Did Not

Tags: Personalized Learning, Success Story, ALEKS, Education Technology, Data & Analytics

NEW YORK, N.Y. (August 15, 2018) – Two research studies published in the first half of 2018 show significant learning gains for college students who used McGraw-Hill's ALEKS adaptive learning technology in math and chemistry. The studies looked at the effects of ALEKS on nearly 12,000 students at two public institutions: West Virginia University and Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Based on the learning science theory of "knowledge spaces" from cognitive science, ALEKS creates a personalized and dynamic learning path for K-20 students based on their unique needs. Since all students enter a course with varying levels of preparedness, ALEKS’s technology pinpoints what students already know, what they don’t and, most importantly, what they’re ready to learn next. Rooted in research and analytics, ALEKS helps improve student outcomes by fostering better preparation, increased motivation and knowledge retention.

The two studies released in 2018 continue to build on research showing the powerful effects that ALEKS can have on student learning outcomes when implemented effectively.

  1. General Chemistry: The results of a four-year study involving more than 8,500 students at West Virginia University (WVU) and conducted by WVU researchers were published in the Journal of Chemical Education, the leading research journal in chemical education, published by the American Chemical Society. The study said the following:

    "The adaptive system [ALEKS] was found to increase the odds of a higher final letter grade for average, below average, and failing students.....Specific to [ALEKS], most students (95%) reported engaging in remediation of incorrect responses, a majority of students (69%) reported changes in study habits, and students recognized the benefit of using [ALEKS] by ranking its assignments and explanations or review materials as two of the top three most useful course aspects contributing to perceived learning."

    General Chemistry Student Attitudes and Success with Use of Online Homework: Traditional-Responsive versus Adaptive-Responsive
    Michelle Richards-Babb, Reagan Curtis, Betsy Ratcliff, Abhik Roy, and Taylor Mikalik
    J. Chem. Educ. 2018 95 (5), 691-699
    DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00829

  2. Math: According to research published for the International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge, students who used ALEKS at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) passed their math courses more often than students who did not use ALEKS. The research, which leveraged data collected from 3,400 students in 198 sections of pre-algebra, elementary and intermediate algebra and college math, was conducted jointly by McGraw-Hill data scientists and Dr. Ryan Baker, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who is a member of the advisory board of McGraw-Hill’s Learning Science Research Council.

    The research, which matched students by age, race and placement test scores, showed that ALEKS students at MATC "had statistically significantly higher pass rates…achieving a boost of 15 points in pass rates." Students using ALEKS were 1.27 times more likely to pass the course compared to students not using ALEKS. The paper continued, "ALEKS is statistically significantly more effective at enhancing pass rates compared to the control condition."

    Studying Adaptive Learning Efficacy using Propensity Score Matching
    Shirin Mojarad, Alfred Essa, and Ryan S. Baker
    Companion Proceedings 8th International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (LAK18)

"These two new studies are valuable pieces of evidence that add to a deep body of research showing that ALEKS works," said Al Essa, VP of Analytics and R&D at McGraw-Hill. "Built based on widely-accepted and validated learning science research, ALEKS can improve student success rates in both chemistry and math, and from K-12 through college."

To learn more about ALEKS in higher education and read more success stories, visit:

McGraw Hill
McGraw Hill is a leading global education company that partners with millions of educators, learners and professionals around the world. Recognizing their diverse needs, we build trusted content, flexible tools and powerful digital platforms to help them achieve success on their own terms. Through our commitment to equity, accessibility and inclusion, we foster a culture of belonging that respects and reflects the diversity of the communities, learners and educators we serve. McGraw Hill has over 40 offices across North America, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions for PreK–12, higher education, professionals and others available in more than 80 languages. Visit us at or find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

Tyler Reed
McGraw Hill
(914) 512-4853