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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Sarah Marley Elementary School, Douglas Unified School District 27
Douglas, AZ

Grade(s): K - 5
Scenario: Computer Lab, Computers in Classroom
Purpose: Intervention, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 85%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3.75 hours per week
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), Algebra 1, High School Geometry

Rhea Morales, Teacher
I have 25 students using ALEKS for fifth grade math. I had the same group of students for fourth grade and have noticed significant growth in their state assessment scores in math. This was accomplished by using ALEKS at school for approximately three hours per week, with few additional math homework assignments.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Most of my students are from Spanish speaking homes. The jump from third grade to fourth grade math includes a significant jump in required reading abilities; the limited comprehension made it difficult for students to continue to be successful in math.

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

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


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
Students work on ALEKS on most days in the classroom on laptop computers with wireless Internet connection.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No. Students are allowed to choose their topics, which helps them feel like they are in control of their learning.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I address the textbook-based lessons that the district adopted for the class, then follow the lessons with time in ALEKS. Students often work together to peer tutor, and reinforce student learning. Assessments are completed individually.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
We cover material more quickly. I know that the material is a review for many students since I hear, "We already did that in ALEKS, Miss Morales."

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Last year students worked more at home on ALEKS. This year, with our in-class computer lab, fewer students are working at home. However, most of my students have completed 50 percent or more of their pies one-third into the academic year.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I show the ALEKS reports to parents at conference time. Parents like seeing their child's progress over time.


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?
Few students have computers with Internet access at home. I do not assign ALEKS for homework; however, I often give a small treat to students who have worked on ALEKS outside of class to acknowledge their extra effort.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
This year, with the students' permission, I took their pie completion percentage at the end of the first quarter and added 40 points to determine their grades. Their second quarter grade will be their ALEKS pie completion percentage plus 20 points. The ALEKS pie completion percentage, without extra weighting, will be their third quarter grade. For their final grades, I will use their percentage completion scores for Mathematics - LV 6 in ALEKS.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
At this point, I expect approximately five percent progress each, which is the class average.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students enjoy working on math with ALEKS, and are building their math vocabularies. Students like to talk about the progress in their pies. They are also very eager to help each other succeed. I now have several fourth grade students come to my classroom for peer tutoring from my fifth grade students.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I schedule an assessment every two weeks; I alternate a progress assessment (what they have mastered in ALEKS) with a comprehensive assessment (to test all they should know at this grade level and possibly show mathematical knowledge they have gained outside of ALEKS). This replaces pencil and paper assessments. I will do some paper and pencil assessments in the second half of the year, mostly to give them practice for future math classes in middle school.