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Middle Ridge Elementary School, Newton County Schools
Grade(s): K - 5
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Intervention, Special Education, Improve State Test Scores
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 60%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week, 120 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables)
Jessica Adams, Teacher
Students use ALEKS for three days each week during their regular math time, and the other two days are regular math schedules based on the students' Special Education IEPs. I am completely satisfied with ALEKS. I have seen most students improve by 50 percent or more; they are excited to master more skills and compete against others in the class. My principal also loves all of the data I am able to show towards mastery of state standards.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Students are performing at different levels, so it is hard to teach a lesson that benefits the whole group. Some students are missing fundamental math skill sets and are not able to attempt grade level curriculum.
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?
We created an ALEKS schedule based on our current math schedules, and selected students based on their state test scores. The selected students use ALEKS for three days each week during their regular math time, and the other two days are regular math schedules based on the students' Special Education IEPs. We also encourage ALEKS use in the mornings, afternoons, and at home.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No. I try to match the topics that are being covered in the regular classroom, but I let the students have personal choice over which ALEKS topics to work on and to work at their own pace.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We use ALEKS three days a week for the entire hour-long math period; within that time, I ask students to spend 5-10 minutes in QuickTables. We establish skill goals for the day and the students work on their ALEKS Pie charts. I also teach mini-lessons or do reteaching on a regular basis. The last five minutes of class are used to review mastered skills.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I am able to use the individualized and class reports to determine which skills I can introduce or reteach.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Weekly. I send two letters home to provide instructions on what ALEKS is and how to access it from home. I also have parents sign a letter during conferences that informs them that their child can access ALEKS from any computer with an Internet connection.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I discuss ALEKS during IEP meetings and parent conferences. I also call parents to encourage them to use ALEKS with their child at home. I show parents how to use ALEKS and how they can view progress reports for their child.
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 assign 1-2 individualized ALEKS worksheets per week for homework.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I assign a percent value to the number of topics mastered per week. The breakdown is as follows: eight topics is an A+, seven topics is an A, six topics is an A-, five topics is a B+, four topics is a B, three topics is a B-, two topics is a C+, one topic is a C, and zero topics mastered is a D. Student effort and behavior are reflected in a weekly grade, along with the ALEKS homework worksheets.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
We measure student progress for each class period and assign grades at the end of the week. We use line graphs to show individual progress and set goals. We also set class goals for mastered skills.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I have seen most students improve by 50 percent or more. The students are excited to master more skills and compete against others in the class.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I recommend having students set their own skill goals.