ALEKS - Assessment and Learning

Implementation Strategies

View a selection of implementation strategies from homeschoolers who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.

Kimberly Merline
Ashburn, VA
Scenario: Homeschool Core Curriculum
Purpose: Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, Extra Practice
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1 hour per day, 5 days per week
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables)

Overall Experience:

I have searched for years to find the right math fit for our home-school. I never felt confident that my children had really learned the math they were studying. They would pass a quiz or test and we would move on to the next topic, but I never felt confident that they understood the topics enough to retain them and demonstrate mastery of the topics when they encountered them again. With ALEKS, this has really changed. The review is so thorough that I feel confident that my children have learned and understand the topics presented before we move on to the next Pie slice. My children feel such a sense of accomplishment when they finish an ALEKS pie! The fact that the children get immediate feedback about whether they have gotten the problem right or wrong is also key to our satisfaction. I feel that it makes a dramatic difference in their math understanding and in the speed at which they learn. Finally, the fact that I NEVER have to grade any math work is such a relief. Sometimes I almost feel guilty, like I am not doing enough to teach my children math, but then I remember that they are learning more math than they ever have before. ALEKS also provides the ability to track a child's progress to the state standards of learning, which I find really helpful.

What challenges did the student face in math prior to using ALEKS?

I have two very different struggles in my home-school. One of my sons struggles with math; he has trouble remembering what he has learned and needs a lot of extra practice and repetition. Now, when I spend time with him, I feel confident that we are getting to the heart of his math struggles. The state standards report available in the Master Account allows me to zero in on the topics that my son really needs to understand right now in order to stay at grade-level in math. When we started ALEKS, he was two years behind in math; he tested at the fourth grade level when he should have been finishing up fifth grade skills. With ALEKS, he has covered almost two years of math in less than one year. My other son is a math whiz. I was never able to find a math program for him, so I was putting together my own materials. My son is now in third grade, and has almost completed fourth grade concepts with ALEKS. He is able to quickly move through the concepts as he masters them and is not held back by unnecessary review. I check in on him periodically to see what he is up to in math, but he is fairly independent with ALEKS. I don't think there is any other math program that would be appropriate for him.

What were you looking for in an online math tool?

The primary feature that I was looking for in an online program was something that would not require me to check my children's math work myself anymore. I am not very interested in math, and find grading their math work to be a tremendous chore. Also, I wasn't always able to get to the grading right away, so I would be grading math work that was a few days old only to find that they hadn't understood a concept, so we would have to review work they could barely remember doing. ALEKS has relieved me of this burden and guilt! The fact that I don't have to grade math work anymore is worth the price of ALEKS, regardless of all the other advantages.

What math progress has the student experienced since using ALEKS?

My son who struggles in math is catching up, and has completed two years of math in less than a year, while my son who does quite well in math is at least two years ahead of grade level as a result of ALEKS. I plan to use ALEKS next year with my third son, who will be a high school freshman.

How does the student feel about his/her progress in ALEKS?

Both of my sons feel a great sense of satisfaction when they complete an ALEKS Pie. We make a big deal out of it and all go out to dinner.