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Gilford Elementary School, Gilford School District
Grade(s): K - 5
Scenario: Home Access
Purpose: RtI, Special Education, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1 hour per week
ALEKS Course: QuickTables
Allison Sullivan, Special Education Case Manager
We have implemented the ALEKS QuickTables program with approximately 25 students who have had a difficult time being successful with our math curriculum. Knowing their math facts is such a critical aspect of being successful. We held an information session for the parents and students to explain the program and walk them through logging on. We had the students complete the Initial Assessment at school and then encouraged them to follow through with their practice at home at least three days per week. There are several students who have been using QuickTables regularly and we have seen dramatic improvement in their success within our math program, as well as an increase in their self-confidence.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
The difficulty was that when we moved into math that involved many steps, students were unable to complete the problems accurately because they did not know their math facts. For example, they knew the process for long division, but would get it wrong because they did not have the correct math fact.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
3 days per week.
How do you implement ALEKS?
It is implemented as a home component to help our at-risk students. We chose students who were receiving Title 1 services, students with math goals in their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), and students who needed the extra math facts practice.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
It is not a part of the classroom instruction.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
We didn't have to because it is a home component.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Three days per week for 15-20 minutes per day.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We invite parents to come to an informational session held in our computer lab so that they are able to see how ALEKS works and answer any questions they have.
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?
Yes, however homework is not graded in fourth grade. It is strongly encouraged, but not required.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
It is not a part of our grading system.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
We encourage continued work toward completing their facts; however, we do not require a certain progress. We start with addition facts and once they complete that, they receive a certificate that allows them to get something at our school store; then they move onto subtraction, and so on.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
The accuracy with which the students are doing their math work has improved, as well as their self-confidence. They are able to concentrate on the process of the math problem and not have to worry so much about their math facts. They are very pleased with their progress. They also enjoy emailing me to talk about how they are doing. I love the fact that I can communicate with them through ALEKS.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Next year I would like to begin using ALEKS at the beginning of the year. We would start with addition and move through to division. I also want to make it a more formalized part of homework or part of a math intervention program at school 2-3 mornings per week for 15 minutes.