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Westlake School, Northern California Conference of SDA
Grade(s): 1 - 8
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 55%
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), Pre-Algebra
Shirley Ayers, Principal
This was my first year in a multiple grade (1-8) classroom. Once the students were familiar with the ALEKS program, they were excited when they were able to access it three times per week. One student soared above and beyond my expectations. He began in late fall, finished his grade level, and is almost finished with the next grade level! Another fourth grade student could not comprehend the basic addition and subtraction principles. She was woefully behind her grade; although she is still behind grade level, she has learned more than I could have expected! I hope to have her at grade level by the end of next year! All students have progressed wonderfully. I use this in conjunction with our text, and the students have been able to skip over many of the lessons. When I have to work closely with the first and second graders, ALEKS gives the other students the ability to learn and be more independent.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
I was teaching six grade levels and could not reach all students every day, especially when 85 percent of the math time was spent working with my first and second graders. ALEKS gave me the ability to access all students every day, if necessary.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
3 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
I simply added the program to the existing math book, refining the text assignments as curriculum was covered by ALEKS.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, I let the students choose their topics. Although if a pie slice is very lightly covered, I have the student cover the more difficult concepts before finishing the easy pie slices.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Five students are first and second graders. Five students alternate on ALEKS three days per week.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I had no need to modify, as this was my first year in this multi-grade situation.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Few students have access to the Internet at home, so it is encouraged at any time but not required.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I did not last year, but if I have some great input, it is something that I would encourage for next year.
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?
I print out homework assignments about twice a week for students. The only other math homework is unfinished text lessons.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is 50 percent and the text is 50 percent.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
No, but this year was overwhelming for me in many aspects. Just keeping up with ten students in six grades with nine subjects was a feat I'm proud to have accomplished. Next year, I will require a minimum measurement, but a lot will depend on what can be done at home. We are hoping to have new computers next year, which will provide students with more regular access.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students have gained confidence. They have learned to assess themselves. They come to me with questions after checking the Explain page if an answer is incorrect or a problem is unclear. They are all pleased with their individual results.