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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Cerra Vista Elementary School, Hollister School District
Hollister, CA

Grade(s): K - 6
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: After-School
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 25%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week, 18 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables)

Colleen Myers, Teacher

The ALEKS program has been a tremendous help for our students! Not only is it ideal for students struggling with concepts, but it also challenges those students who master concepts quickly. I have used this program with seventh and eighth graders and was extremely pleased with their growth over the seven months they attended. The students appreciate the variety of content available to them and the visual assurance that they are improving via the pie graph. The fifth and sixth graders enjoyed similar success at the elementary school so we look forward to subscribing again next year. A secondary benefit is that this is great practice for the Common Core testing coming online very soon!

 



Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
The blanket introduction and practice of skills was a challenge for those who were behind as well as for those who grasped concepts quickly. This program solves that issue. ALEKS allows every student to fulfill their deficits whether they are below or above grade level.

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?
60 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
ALEKS is only used as an afterschool program with a teacher that is not necessarily the student's homeroom teacher.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
They attend the afterschool lab each day for 60 minutes or work until they master ten topics, whichever is completed first. If an assessment is given, then students only need to master four additional topics. This gives students a defined end and the responsibility to control their dismissal.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
Using ALEKS is a great deposit in the strategy bank for intervention, acceleration, and maintenance. I can't wait to see how we can use it again next year.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
We encourage parents and students to use the program at home over the summer for maintenance and preparation for the next year.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Successful progress reports do the trick. Once a parent sees the progress their student is experiencing they are really sold on ALEKS. Hopefully they will commit to helping their student over the summer by subscribing.


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, not this year. It is in addition to regular homeroom assignments.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
We require mastery of ten topics per session and positive growth shown on each assessment to stay at the 60-minute requirement. If no growth is demonstrated on an assessment, then that student commits to 90 minutes per session until positive growth is shown on their next assessment.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
The spiral review is key for students cementing their newly mastered skills. The visual pie graph assures students that they are working towards an end, putting purpose to their time spent. EVERY student shows growth from their first assessment to their last. In the end, students feel great about their progress. They actually surprise themselves when they analyze the first assessment to their final assessment. I get the feeling that students are generally pleased with this program as their after school assignment compared to some other non-interactive programs they have attended.



Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
We require mastery of ten topics per session and positive growth shown on each assessment to stay at the 60-minute requirement. If no growth is demonstrated on an assessment, then that student commits to 90 minutes per session until positive growth is shown on their next assessment.