View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Morgan Elementary School, Holyoke Public Schools
Grade(s): K - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Laptop Carts
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1 hour per week; 10 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), Middle School Math Course 2, Middle School Math Course 3
Stephanie Roszko, Math Coach
We have been using ALEKS in our school for about three years, but this is the first year where it has become a mandatory part of the math instruction in grades 4-8. Students really enjoy seeing the progress they make and get so excited when they complete a slice of their pie. Teachers are really enjoying it because they get a snapshot of what each of their students understands, as well as what areas they need more help in. Teachers also love the worksheets that are customized for each student and they really like that they can line up the ALEKS material to what they are teaching in class.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We are an inner-city school with a high transient rate. The issues we are trying to address are the gaps that students have in mathematics because they have been in so many different schools in many different states, which do not always have the same math standards.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
1 day per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
Teachers have the laptop cart one day a week to use ALEKS in place of the regular math curriculum. Most teachers have aligned ALEKS to the curriculum that they are using during the regular math time.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
For one 60-minute math period a week, students are required to use the ALEKS program.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
Teachers are now meeting with small groups of students and addressing the weaknesses that they are made aware of through the ALEKS program.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
We have sent letters home to parents encouraging students to use ALEKS at home. However, not all of our students have computers at home so we cannot make it a requirement.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We have sent home letters explaining the program and have also spoken to parents during teacher conferences to explain how great this resource is.
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?
On the day that ALEKS is used in the classroom, there is a worksheet for each student for homework.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Ten percent of a student's grade is from ALEKS.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
If students are not completing two topics per hour of use, we have one-on-one conferences to find out if the level they are at is too difficult, or if there are other issues we need to be aware of.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
All students have made some nice gains in the ALEKS program, which is evident in the increase in the numbers of topics they have mastered thus far. Students love seeing their progress in their pies and I am always stopped in the hall by students who want to tell me that they have completed a piece of their pie. Students like to have the instant feedback of whether or not they got a question correct and they also like the explain button, which gives them the one-on-one help they might need. I think that we are all anxious to get the results back from our state to see what gains there are in math. We are optimistic that the ALEKS program will have helped us to see some nice gains.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Teachers need to monitor what students are doing at all times and then they need to make sure that they are conferencing with students weekly to discuss the progress they are making. We also have incentives in our school in which students who complete two hours each week will receive a prize. We also have a bulletin board up in the main hallway showing a pie for each grade level and students' names are placed in the appropriate pie piece when they have completed it. We then have an ice cream party for all students who complete a piece of their pie. Lastly, we are having a field trip to a local park for all students who have completed 50 hours of use by a certain date. I think that these incentives have helped to motivate students!