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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Noble Academy, Private
Greensboro, NC

Grade(s): K - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab, Laptop Carts, Home Access
Purpose: After-School, Special Education, Improve State Test Scores
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2 hours per week, 20 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables)

Erin Cawley, Teacher
Our school provides an opportunity for students with learning differences to achieve greater success, both academically and socially. Due to our small class sizes and traditional curriculum, teachers are often providing instruction to a group of students who are at very different levels. This was the problem I faced: I teach fourth grade math, and half of my students are quick learners and able to work independently, while the other half requires continued instruction and remediation. ALEKS has been a lifesaver! I love how ALEKS figures out what my students are ready to learn and where there are holes, and how it individualizes their program based on their needs. This allows students to work completely independently on ALEKS, while I continue to instruct those in need of extra practice. My students love the program and get excited when I tell them that we are going to the computer lab to work on ALEKS. Most of the students in my class have a learning disability in math, and ALEKS has helped to address these learning issues while being sensitive to the anxiety issues that some students may also have. My students are not at all overwhelmed by the program, as they sometimes are with direct instruction, and even request to work on ALEKS during their free time. I have also noticed an increase in their standardized test scores since beginning ALEKS. For example, one of my students improved his score by 11 points, while another student achieved 80 percent growth. These gains are unusual in my district and are attributed to incorporating ALEKS into our weekly instruction.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
My class is comprised of varying ability levels, and I was not able to address each student's needs in a class period. I was worried that students were leaving still confused about what they had learned because I was not able to differentiate enough. ALEKS allows students to advance while others can receive the instruction they need.

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?
10 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
Classes comprised of students with varied ability levels were given ALEKS accounts, which is how my students became registered. We use it as a whole class lesson, as well as a tool to differentiate instruction. My students will also be continuing with ALEKS over the summer in place of a tutor.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, I allow the students to pick the topic they want to advance in.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We reserve computer lab time twice a week to work on ALEKS, and I allow certain students to work on the program independently while other students receive continued instruction. I also assign it for homework once a week.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I use it as a supplementary tool for homework or as additional instruction during our independent practice.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They use it once or twice a week. Some use QuickTables every night in place of their nightly fluency drills.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I encourage parents to be a part of the ALEKS experience at home in order to see what their students are working on and what areas are still of concern.


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?
ALEKS is their only homework assignment once or twice a week, which is roughly around 25-50 percent of their homework load.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS, which given as a homework assignment, is treated as any other assignment. This factors out to be 25-50 percent of their homework average.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I don't require them to make a certain amount of progress. Occasionally, I will ask students to master a certain number of topics when working on ALEKS at home. During class, I keep them updated on how many topics they have mastered, and this seems to be motivation enough for them to want to work harder.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
My students' standardized test scores have greatly improved and they have a stronger retention rate, which has directly helped to move along instruction. They enjoy using the program and find that they master topics quickly.