View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Livingston Elementary School, Newton County Schools
Grade(s): K - 5
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
Purpose: Intervention, Special Education
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 25%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 4 hours per week; 36 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), QuickTables
Madeline Jacobs, Special Education Teacher
As a special education teacher, I've always struggled with finding appropriate interventions for my students, particularly in math. With the No Child Left Behind, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep students with disabilities caught up. ALEKS has improved some of my students' math achievement levels by at least one grade level. The students enjoy working at their own pace and by mastering objectives daily, the students gain a sense of accomplishment. By graphing their daily progress, they begin to see that they truly are learning math! The ALEKS program has also aided in planning for instruction. I now can teach at the kids' pace, offering daily mini-lessons geared toward what they are ready to learn.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Students with disabilities were not passing state standardized tests and student achievement scores remained low despite efforts to provide other interventions.
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?
How do you implement ALEKS?
I couple what the students are ready to learn with curriculum maps. The students are required to master one objective per day that is related to the general education curriculum. Our ALEKS students are pulled for a resource segment each day to complete their ALEKS instruction.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
The students are required to review any concepts needed. While they are reviewing, hands-on mini lessons are given to students. They set a daily goal, and work from their pie to accomplish that goal. At the end of the class period, they print out their homework, an ALEKS-generated worksheet. They also record and graph their daily progress. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the students work on QuickTables for 10 minutes before going into ALEKS. On Wednesdays, students complete a written test based on the objectives they have mastered.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I provide students with mini-lessons that are hands-on and structured around what they are ready to learn. They also are rewarded during the co-teaching segment for utilizing their ALEKS knowledge to complete a task in the general education setting.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students are encouraged to participate at home whenever available.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents are updated regularly with ALEKS progress. ALEKS objective mastery is included within the students' present levels of performance on their individualized education plans (IEPs).
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?
Students generate their own worksheet from ALEKS that creates about 16 problems based on objective mastery.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Students are given a grade for homework completion and ALEKS participation that counts toward 25 percent of their final math grade.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are required to master at least six objectives per week. The students are responsible for graphing their own progress; however, I check their progress weekly and record it on a classroom incentive chart. The students' yearly goal is to master 100 objectives. Each lap completed on our ALEKS 100 racetrack (each lap equals 10 objectives mastered) earns them a reward. If students do not meet the required six objectives per week, they remain in the "pit stop" until mastery is completed.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
All of my students in the ALEKS program have improved their achievement scores in math by at least one grade level. Unfortunately, they did not pass the state standardized test, but when testing concepts within the classroom setting, they perform on grade level. One of my student's reports, "Great!" Another reports, "Awesome!" And another reports that ALEKS has "let them do math."
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Get organized! ALEKS is a wonderful tool when used consistently and with daily organization. Implement incentives for goal mastery. Allow the students to set their own goals for mastery and follow-up with mastery progress. Use ALEKS to complement the general education curriculum. And become involved with other teachers who are using ALEKS. Together, you can share ideas and build on the program.