ALEKS - Assessment and Learning

Implementation Strategies

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

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C.W. Haman Elementary School, Santa Clara Unified School District
Santa Clara, CA

Grade(s): K - 5
Scenario: Computer Lab, Computers in Classroom, Home Access
Purpose: RtI, Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, Special Education, Improve State Test Scores
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 40%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2 hours per week, 20 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables)

Ken Cardona, Teacher
ALEKS has been the technological "perfect storm" we've been looking for to enhance our effectiveness as teachers. To be effective, we need a few things. First, authentic formative and summative assessments in REAL TIME with easy-to-read graphical data that students, parents, and teachers can access and understand. Second, true differentiation of instruction based on student needs. Third, immediate, student-centered and student-controlled access to resources that help illustrate and explain terms and concepts. Last, a truly interactive, fun, reliable, and effective web-based program. ALEKS provides all these key ingredients and more. It is the realization of the promise of what technology and the web can bring to student learning. It can never replace the teacher, but it can make ANY teacher far more effective in helping students. Thank you, ALEKS, for being an "effectiveness multiplier!"


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Authentic assessments that pinpointed specific deficiencies in specific standards were lacking, and real-time, immediate feedback was non-existent. Students, teachers, and parents were all unable to see graphical representations of both the students' standing and progress. Differentiation was far more problematic and far more difficult to truly deliver. The differentiation ability of ALEKS is one of the most outstanding features that make it an efficacious program.

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
2 days per week.

What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
120 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
We utilized the tutorial process and used it on a trial basis. We discussed the most efficacious use and analyzed the data, then adjusted the usage methods and time frames, accordingly.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
We begin with QuickTables facts, and then an equal growth in all of the pie slices. We find that going in topical order is best, as it is aligned both to the standards, and our frameworks and prerequisites.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We structure our use of ALEKS in multiple ways. We use it in our computer lab where students work with their own PC. We also use it in the classroom in solo, partner, and small-group configurations. Lastly, we use it in certain whole-class scenarios as an instructional tool in conjunction with our interactive whiteboard and projector.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
The increased ability to differentiate has enabled us to meet the needs of all our students in a manner which promotes a student's understanding of their own status. As a result, the teaching has been far more effective, enabling us to help 100 percent of the students with the effect we call the "ALEKS force multiplier."

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Daily.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
With newsletters, web site links, and at parent/teacher conferences.


Grading

Is ALEKS assigned to your students as all or part of their homework responsibilities? If so, what part of the total homework load is it?
One hour per week for students with Internet access.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
By using the standards-based approach. Our report card is standards-based, and ALEKS is outstanding in aligning with our report card.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Each student has individual immediate and long-term goals based on parent/teacher/student conferences. In these meetings, we analyze ALEKS and other math assessment data to set goals.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students are proud of both their progress and the self-ownership of their learning that ALEKS enables. They LOVE and look forward to going to the lab, as well as working on it in the classroom and at home. Students have made measurable progress on all standards. The differentiation of the Initial Assessment allows students and teachers to know exactly where the students are, how they are progressing, and where they are headed. Some of our students have made enormous progress, jumping ahead by one or even two entire grade levels. Other students struggle, but the clear, standards-based alignment of ALEKS enables us to more accurately assess and target the areas where those students are struggling.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
There are too many to describe! ALEKS is so well-organized, so easy to use, and so EFFECTIVE that it is a best practice simply to use it! Thank you, ALEKS!