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Camino Elementary School, Camino Union Elementary School District
Grade(s): K - 8
Scenario: Home Access
Purpose: At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 0.1
Time Spent in ALEKS: 9 hours per week, 100 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables)
Dawn Wilson, Teacher
I had very interesting experiences with ALEKS. I signed up some of my math intervention students, hoping they would work at home and fill in some of the gaps in their learning, including math facts. After I had exhausted my classroom budget, I suggested to a few parents of low performing students that I would manage their child on ALEKS if they paid the fee. What I found was that the students whose parents paid for the program, as opposed to the students whom I paid for, were more successful with ALEKS. They were far more likely to practice at home than were the students whose parents had not paid for the program.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
I needed something for my Tier 2 and 3 intervention kids who had gaps in their learning.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
I used ALEKS as an intervention tool in my math classroom for students who had gaps in their learning. It will also be implemented in the summer for students who have not yet achieved all grade level standards.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
I kept to the order in the program, which was basically the same order as our math textbook.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I used it after school in intervention class.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
ALEKS supplemented my regular teaching.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They were encouraged to work at home every day. Unfortunately, not all of my intervention kids have Internet access at home. For these cases, they came into my classroom at lunch and after school. The students who made the greatest achievements this year used ALEKS about nine hours per week at home.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I did not spend much time cultivating parent involvement. I have learned from my results, however, that parent/home support is essential. Next year, I will spend more time on this aspect of the program.
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?
It supplemented homework. I found that when I paid for student subscriptions, follow-up at home was far less than when the parents paid.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Because we use a standards-based report card, a benchmark test is given each trimester which comprises 90 percent of the math grade. I did not use ALEKS as part of their grade, but students using ALEKS have a greater chance of mastering the standards than they might have otherwise had.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I found that requiring progress was self-defeating. I could not insist on progress with intervention kids than I can require progress for any core subject. I supply materials and incentives, teach, coach, and hope that the result is progress.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
The students whose parents paid for ALEKS were more likely to use the program at home. Parent support was key to progress and success in ALEKS. Students logged in hours above and beyond what was done at school. The students who faithfully used the program were very proud of their successes. One student became our class tutor, as she had passed the place we were at in the book and could help others learn the material.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Parental support seemed to be the key to success and progress with ALEKS.