Online Placement and Assessment System Sharpens Cognitive Skills of Students Struggling in Math

MyAcademicWorkshop™ is a differentiated online assessment system that helps place students into appropriate mathematics courses and helps increase student engagement and sense of accomplishment for students struggling in mathematics.

Tampa, FL, August 17, 2012 --( Hope is on the way for today’s incoming college students seeking to overcome what can seem like an insurmountable hurdle: placing into and passing basic college math courses. MyAcademicWorkshop, unveiled today by Link-Systems International, Inc. (LSI), is a new integrated technology offering accurate mathematics course placement, adaptive placement test preparation, and a fully customizable online homework platform – all in a single package. LSI, the winner of a 2012-13 eSchool Media Readers’ Choice Award, has played a leading role in distance education for over fifteen years.

Today’s college students – and the institutions they attend – face daunting statistics: up to 60% of incoming students may not qualify for College Algebra. Yet College Algebra is required for the completion of most programs of study and degrees. Robert Andersen, Director of Product Development at LSI, explains how the new technology can help: “With LSI’s MyAcademicWorkshop, students can find out quickly where they stand in mathematics and institutions can quickly identify students in need. LSI has a long experience with the innovators in adaptive learning. This helped us go from providing a better online homework platform, as we did in v1.0, to developing adaptive options both in objective mastery placement exams and in individualized learning experiences through which students can prepare for the next placement exam.”

MyAcademicWorkshop v2.0 includes adaptive placement functionality to accurately place students into one of four mathematics courses: Basic College Mathematics, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, or College Algebra. This adds to the already feature-rich v1.0, which offered online homework and an instructor-defined workflow.

The self-directed placement test preparation portion of MyAcademicWorkshop responds to students’ strengths and weaknesses. Each student proceeds at his or her own pace. Questions are algorithmic, meaning that the system can automatically generate alternative questions until the student masters each learning objective.

The online homework portion of MyAcademicWorkshop has been shown to increase student engagement and sense of accomplishment, cultivate a more positive attitude toward mathematics learning, and increase overall class scores on exams. Teachers can focus on classroom discussion and gain deeper insight into students’ issues with subject matter.

Spencer Hamrick, mathematics instructor and Learning Support Math Coordinator at Southern Crescent Technical College in Georgia, recently piloted MyAcademicWorkshop in MATH1012 and MATH0098 courses. Mr. Hamrick says, “MyAcadmicWorkshop is different from products that seem similar – so-called ‘labs’ for subject-based homework. MyAcademicWorkshop offers a full range of algorithmic homework content, at the discretion of the instructor or department, while providing automated notifications regarding student progress at levels and intervals determined by the instructor or department.” He further explains, “Observed results [from the pilot] include a better, more participatory approach by students to mathematics, numerous opportunities to direct and deepen classroom discussion around essential learning objectives, and better overall performance on the course final exams.”

MyAcademicWorkshop comes pre-populated with seven mathematics syllabi (High School Algebra I, High School Algebra II, High School Geometry, Basic College Mathematics, Algebra, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus) containing thousands of algorithmic questions created by LSI’s subject-matter experts. Andersen explains, “Algorithmic questions make it possible to offer different versions of a question – as many as students may need – to master each learning objective.” All the assignments for each syllabus can be used as is or customized via the integrated WorldWideTestbank® workflow editor and authoring interface. The content team subject-matter experts at LSI have worked with leading providers of online content for over a decade and that knowledge, attention to detail, and accuracy is evident in the MyAcademicWorkshop content.

MyAcademicWorkshop offers 15 different, auto-graded, algorithmically generated answer types, not just multiple-choice. As might be expected, standard answer types are supported (multiple-choice, multiple-select, numeric entry). The platform content has been designed to promote learning objective mastery of mathematics via direct student input. For instance, the content is pedagogically neutral: unlike a textbook, its homework content is based solely on satisfying learning objectives. In this format, student input measures genuine comprehension rather than guessing ability.

MyAcademicWorkshop provides direct access via single sign-on (SSO) for all major learning management systems utilizing Basic LTI, and custom SSO integration is also available. MyAcademicWorkshop was built with ease-of-use in mind and based on the typical learning management system experience of today’s student, faculty, and administrators. Whether an institution is concerned with accurately identifying student needs or promoting self-remediation or whether its goal is simply to supply online homework and free teachers to do what they do best, MyAcademicWorkshop is a powerful addition to student preparation for math success.

About Link-Systems International, Inc.

LSI is a privately-held company that has been dedicated to student success and student retention in K-12 education, higher education, and workforce development education since 1995. We specialize in technology development, online tutoring services, and content services.

LSI’s core technologies include a very flexible online tutoring/teaching platform, an online grade book, an online algorithm engine with metadata and workflow capabilities, and an online business intelligence/data mining technology designed to provide real-time alerts regarding student/school/teacher performance, attendance, and other metrics. LSI’s core services include content development, consulting, and online tutoring through our NetTutor® brand. LSI customers include K-12 publishers, higher education publishers, virtual high schools, higher education institutions, technology companies, and joint programs dedicated to providing online educational content to members of organized labor and their families.

For more information, visit
Link-Systems International, Inc.
Richard Meade