ALEKS - Assessment and Learning

Implementation Strategies

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

Submit your ALEKS implementation strategy by completing our online survey.

Springfield Public Day Elementary School, Springfield Public Schools
Springfield, MA

Grade(s): 2 - 4
Scenario: Computers in Classroom, Laptop Carts
Purpose: Intervention, Special Education, At-Risk Students, Core Curriculum
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 30%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1.25-2.5 hours per week, 11 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables)

Heather Rollins-Chappel, Special Education Teacher
I began implementing ALEKS in my classroom this year. I work in a public day school with students with severe behavioral and emotional needs. It is an alternative setting for students who are unable to make progress in a typical school setting. Due to the nature of our program, my students' levels and skills vary so much, so the ALEKS program has been very beneficial to me.  I use ALEKS for both my core program, as well as for intervention. For the core program, I look for the topics that correlate with the standard(s) I am teaching. After I have introduced the topic to my students and they have had an opportunity to practice the skill, I assign the module in ALEKS that corresponds to the standard the students have learned. When I use ALEKS for intervention, I use my classroom data as well as the reporting features in ALEKS to determine the students who have gaps with the same skills. I use this data to form various intervention groups, and then plan small group lessons to teach the students the topic. When I feel the students have grasped the material taught, I assign the module in ALEKS for them to receive additional practice.

I love using ALEKS. The program is very useful and I found it rather easy to implement. I love the reporting features because my students' progress is right at my finger tips. The reports are easy to read, share with students, and send to parents. I am also able to access the program at home to analyze the data, check on student progress, assign modules, and send messages to students. I also use the worksheet feature to reinforce the skills learned in lessons. The more I use ALEKS the more I like it. I find new ways to use it all the time.  My students like ALEKS, too! They ask to log onto ALEKS all the time. They love being able to get the immediate feedback that ALEKS provides. They are motivated to fill their pie pieces. Even though I don't make it competitive or share their information, they sometimes challenge each other. Just by one student mentioning how many modules he has completed motivates another student to pass that "level." They are always eager to show me or my paraprofessional when they have made progress. The students like to use QuickTables as well, and I use it as a reward for completing certain assigned modules. It is really heartwarming and encouraging to watch these students, who have experienced so much failure in school, to be so motivated and excited about learning!!! ALEKS is our first choice!


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Motivation, motivation, motivation! It was difficult to catch gaps in the students' knowledge until I was teaching a particular concept and the students demonstrated a lack of prerequisite skills. ALEKS makes it easier to provide intervention to bridge these gaps.

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

What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
15-30 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
I use ALEKS for both my core program as well as intervention. For the core program, I look for the topics that correlate with the standard(s) I am teaching. After I have introduced the topic to my students and they have had an opportunity to practice the skill, I assign the module in ALEKS that corresponds to the standard the students have learned. When I use ALEKS for intervention I use my classroom data as well as the reporting features in ALEKS to determine the students who have gaps with the same skills. I use this data to form various intervention groups. Then I plan small group lessons to teach the students the topic. When I feel the students have grasped the material taught, I assign the module in ALEKS for them to receive additional practice.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Yes and no. I assign topics that go along with the standard I am teaching (which correspond with our district assigned scope and sequence) or the intervention that students need, but I also let the students self-select and explore on their own.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
In addition to a teacher directed lesson with the whole class, I use ALEKS as a part of guided practice for what I have taught. For those students that need intervention, I teach a mini lesson and assign ALEKS as additional guided practice. Finally, I use ALEKS as an assessment tool in addition to my own, teacher-made assessments.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
Guided practice and intervention times were already built into my math block so I just tweaked them to add ALEKS as an additional activity. ALEKS actually makes it easier for me. I am able to use the program as an activity and the students get immediate feedback from the program so they don't have to wait for me to be available. They either do the first problem right and move on or they do it wrong and have the concept explained again. My paraprofessional and I are always available to help them learn a particular topic as well.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
At this time, no requirement has been set.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I have shared progress reports with parents at meetings. I plan on encouraging home use next year to help parents be more aware of the topics their students are learning about and to help reinforce skills that are learned in class.


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?
Yes, but only as worksheets because computer and Internet access at home is unavailable or limited. I send an ALEKS worksheet for homework one to two times a week.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I include it as a grade for completed classwork when I assign a module.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Not at this time.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
This program has helped me reinforce the topics in my class. Sometimes I allow the students to choose their own topic, so there have been times that during a lesson I'll hear a student excitedly, say "I learned this on ALEKS!" I am then able to use that student as an expert to help peer tutor others. This helps build their confidence. I have seen the students not only become more confident and motivated, but also building a stronger foundation in mathematics. They are progressing steadily through the topics presented. My students like ALEKS, too! They ask to log onto ALEKS all the time. They love being able to get the immediate feedback that ALEKS provides. They are motivated to fill their pie pieces. Even though I don't make it competitive or share their information, they sometimes challenge each other. Just by one student mentioning how many modules he has completed motivates another student to pass that "level." They are always eager to show me or my paraprofessional when they have made progress. The students like to use QuickTables as well, and I use it as a reward for completing certain assigned modules. It is really heartwarming and encouraging to watch these students, who have experienced so much failure in school, to be so motivated and excited about learning!!!


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Try to pre-teach a topic before the students go onto ALEKS, if possible. I feel it lowers student frustration levels with unknown material.