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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West Goshen Elementary School, Goshen Community Schools
Goshen, IN

Grade(s): K - 5
Scenario: Computer Lab, Home Access
Purpose: Intervention, At-Risk Students, ESL Students, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 30%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2 hours per week, 15 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables)

Melissa Cripe, English Learner Teacher
Students enjoy using ALEKS. Some of our most struggling learners not only do well with the program, but also enjoy it so much that they do it at home.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We had students at so many levels with no easy math intervention. Additionally, Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP) is online, but having no quality math practice online made the test scary for the students. This year it felt normal to do a math test online.

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

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


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
I am on our RtI team. I pull out students who are struggling in math for four additional ALEKS sessions a week. All teachers take kids two times a week. The students then assess at the end of each nine-week term. We also have the option to align with our curriculum.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
I do not, although sometimes classroom teachers do.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students use ALEKS in their class two times a week for 30 minutes. Struggling learners then come to my room for 35 minutes, four times a week for extra practice. This small group lets me help them when they get stuck on a skill. We test monthly for progress monitoring purposes for Response to Intervention (RtI).

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
We use ALEKS in addition to our required program for math. It lets us make sure gaps in student learning are filled in.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
We encourage them to, but it is optional.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We let parents know about ALEKS. We are a high poverty school, so many parents do not have the Internet.


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?
No.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
We are on a standards-based mastery rubric for grades. If a student can demonstrate mastery on a topic in an assessment, they get a "3" on that standard.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
No.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
We have had great success with ALEKS. One student who hated school is now enjoying himself and logs in at home. Two students who were both more than a grade level behind were moved out of our daily intervention to just use ALEKS because they are now passing Acuity, which is similar to our state tests. We also have a fourth grader working several grade levels above in math. The students love to see their pies grow. They can tell you specific strands they are good at and which ones they need help with. They also like that we can tell if they are working hard and what they are doing at home.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Have students select the Explain button first, and then teach them. This means they have to try to self-teach first. Rewarding for progress also keeps students motivated.