View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Crocker Highlands Elementary School, Oakland Unified School District
Grade(s): K - 5
Scenario: Computer Lab, Computers in Classroom, Home Access
Purpose: Intervention, Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, After-School, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 25-30%
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), Middle School Math Course 3
Angela Allen, Intervention
ALEKS has been a great tool in helping students who enjoy working independently and don't always like to ask for help. Being able to choose what they work on has also given students a greater sense of empowerment. The QuickTables program has helped propel students' learning because they compete to see who accesses their games first as well as who gets the highest score. Thanks to ALEKS, more than half of the third graders at our school are now working on fourth grade math, and all but a few of our fourth graders are testing at grade level or above! In addition, nearly all of our ALEKS Afterschool Program students (who attend twice weekly for one hour) have increased their math test scores by double digits. I love hearing the students moan and complain because I ask them to log OFF the ALEKS program for the day. What I like most about the ALEKS program is the self-esteem it's given to students who had convinced themselves that they "just weren't good at math and never would be."
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Our school had an achievement gap that concerned many parents. Many of our students were scoring below grade level. Some were scoring far below grade level.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
3-5 days per week.
How do you implement ALEKS?
I run an afterschool program that students attend for an hour, twice a week. Initially, they started with their review problems, then topics, and then end with QuickTables. I now allow the students, who are still attending twice a week, to do QuickTables at any time during the class.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, not unless it's being used to support a specific subject being learned in class. For example, if students are learning to add fractions in class, they may be asked to do fractions on ALEKS. Otherwise, we like to let the students choose.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Different classes are structured differently. Sometimes we start with QuickTables, sometimes we end with it. Sometimes students take turns just doing QuickTables.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
As a tutor, I've seen teachers schedule ALEKS time into their weekly agenda. Students are also encouraged to do ALEKS during their free time in computer class.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They are encouraged to work on ALEKS at home every day. Some students are assigned ALEKS for homework two to three days each week.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Through one-on-one conversations between parents and teachers, parent volunteers helping during ALEKS time, and sharing students' assessments and correlating the results with improved test scores.
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 a part of their homework.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
The students in my afterschool class compete each week to have the most topics completed. The top three students win a special prize, such as cookies, squishy balls, and jingly pencils. All receive snacks and praise at the end of each class.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
The students who use ALEKS regularly have had improved state and district test scores. Many of them have improved by double digit percentages. Most students are very proud of their progress. They brag about their progress level percentages in QuickTables. We celebrate each student when they complete one of their tables and have a "Wall of Pride" where we post all of the QuickTables completion certificates. Completing their grade level has become a special badge of honor that our third, fourth, and fifth graders now know what they can achieve and actively work toward.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
A "Wall of Pride" made up of the QuickTables completion certificates is great for students to show parents and visitors. Topic contests are fun for the more competitive students. Making ALEKS a regularly scheduled part of their week makes it easier to get parents to volunteer in the class to help.