Featured on the League iStream e-newsletter October 2010
Hawkes Learning Systems’ unique approach to mastery learning motivates students to excel in math. The software provides students with interactive instruction, step-by-step tutorials, unlimited practice, error-specific feedback for incorrect answers, and mastery-based homework assignments. In addition, instructors receive a comprehensive online grade book, test generator, and content editor to help streamline and simplify course management.
Hawkes is being used in mathematics courses at community colleges and universities all across the country. Spoon River College is one such school that has implemented Hawkes in their developmental math program with great results. Instructor Jim Sheff compiled results in a case study showing just how effective Hawkes Learning Systems has proven to be.
Since using Hawkes, the school has seen improvement in student grades, and a decrease in the number of student withdrawals. Seventy-four percent of students completed every homework assignment and passing rates were as high as 93 percent in some courses. According to Sheff, “Only 3.3 percent of the students received a final grade of ‘D’. The number of Ds is significant to me because it tells me how many students got left behind. With Hawkes Learning Systems, a student has to work for a grade of ‘D’. Since there are very few of them, it is safe to say that the students who work diligently have an extremely high likelihood of passing with a C or better.”
There are many reasons behind these remarkable results. First and foremost, Sheff credits the instructors: “I believe that the current staff that is teaching developmental mathematics at SRC is the reason that this system is proving successful and will hopefully stay successful. Hawkes Learning Systems is the means that we are using that allows us to be consistent graders and hold our students to standards far higher than they may even have realized they can achieve. To have 74 percent of your students complete every homework assignment is saying a lot, but that number is even more phenomenal when you consider that that number is accounting for every developmental mathematics student on every campus.”
So what makes Hawkes such a valuable tool? Students are given unlimited practice, error-specific feedback, and mastery-based homework. Also, the easy-to-use software is the only program available that is capable of working both with and without internet access, eliminating technical concerns such as connectivity issues. This allows students to have access at all times in order to complete assignments or simply practice.
Questions in the software are algorithmically generated; students never see the same question over again, allowing for truly unlimited practice. Students don’t just memorize answers to questions, they have to actually learn the material and understand it in order to get it right and move on. Immediate feedback though artificial intelligence shows students what they have done wrong and exactly how to learn from their mistake.
Many students using the Hawkes Learning Systems’ software at SRC enjoy this system much more than traditional style math courses. The software provides students with easy navigation and instant grading, and they can work at their own pace. Many say that they learn the material quicker and retain the information better than in the past with traditional classes. “Study, use the tutor button, and practice often,” one student from SRC said. “Hawkes helps you understand math better.” In fact, 97 percent of the students who did all of the Hawkes certifications (homework) received a C or better in the class.
Spoon River College has combined Hawkes Learning Systems with dedicated instructors to not only make grades go up, but also help students truly understand the material.
To learn more about SRC’s math program, contact Jim Sheff at