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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Miramonte Elementary School, Private
Los Altos, CA

Grade(s): K - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Computers in Classroom, Home Access
Purpose: RtI, Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, Core Curriculum, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 25%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2 hours per week, 18 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables)

Albert Beierle, Principal
I heard about it from another principal of a small school three years ago. I tried the trial version on my own and then in my classroom. After, I spoke to the school board about it and purchased it for the whole school. I moved on from that position to take up administrative duties in my new school. The school ran a summer school camp and needed something to use in the lab for the students. I suggested the trial version of ALEKS. At the end of summer, we were going to purchase a new math curriculum, but we could not afford both ALEKS and the new math program for every class. It was decided to purchase the new math program over a period of three years starting at the lower end, and ALEKS would be purchased for those who wanted it from the top down. At first, only a few seats were desired. However, the fourth grade class still wanted both math programs, but we could not afford it. I said if you want ALEKS, fundraise for it, which they did. That stirred up other classroom teachers to fundraise too. Now, the majority of the upper grades are getting the program. There has been growth in abilities and confidence, and an attitude change about math. Students are actually eager to go do math on ALEKS. In the regular classroom setting, I have heard students say, “Oh I know how to do that; I learned it on ALEKS."


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Computation scores and math attitudes were low.

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?
25-30 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
We first advertise ALEKS at Back-to-School Night. Then we have assessments at the beginning of the implementation to find levels and areas of concentration to pursue. We also explain the process to the students and their family. Finally, we integrate ALEKS into the schedule.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
For some students, yes - I cover areas personally noted as in need of review or practice. With other students, they are self-directed so I let the assessments and student readiness and curiosity lead.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
There is classroom instruction and then breakouts into ALEKS.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I monitor student progress. If ALEKS can be used to model or reinforce topic coverage, then it is utilized as the lead presentation. If teacher presentation is deemed more appropriate, ALEKS is used to enhance or reinforce topics.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
This option is held open to all.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I show the program at Back-to-School Night, advertise it in the school newsletter, and post the newsletter on the website.


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?
Occasionally. It is graded as a regular assignment.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
It is new to the school this year.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes, I monitor weekly and set goals.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
There has been growth in abilities and confidence, and an attitude change about math. Students are actually eager to go do math on ALEKS. In the regular classroom setting, I have heard students say, “Oh I know how to do that; I learned it on ALEKS."


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Use it and see if it improves performance. My bet is that it will.