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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John Muir Elementary School, Portage Community School District
Portage, WI

Grade(s): 2 - 6
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
Purpose: Enrichment/Gifted and Talented
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 70%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3-5 hours per week
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables)

Jessica Williams, Teacher
Two of my gifted students recently started ALEKS. Our curriculum was too easy for these students, and I was having a difficult time challenging them, since others in our classroom need so much support. ALEKS has given these students an independent challenge, and they love it. Rather than hearing them say, "This is so easy," I hear them say, "This is hard," and minutes later, I hear them thinking out loud, "Oh, I get it." ALEKS is helping them to really grow in all areas. Working toward filling in their pies is a great visual for the students, and they are excited when they complete a slice. Other students are also motivated to do well in hopes of qualifying to use ALEKS. As a teacher, ALEKS is very easy to use. I was able to log on and easily figure out how to get things set up for my students. ALEKS pretty much facilitates itself.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
It is difficult to challenge gifted students with our curriculum.

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
3-5 days per week.

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


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
The two students using ALEKS log on in our classroom during math. It is used when we are not learning, playing math games, or completing explorations. It is also used when the concept being taught that day is not something new, or when I feel the students already have an understanding of what we are learning.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, I allow students to choose what they would like to work on.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
The two students using ALEKS log on in our classroom during math. It is used when we are not learning or playing math games/explorations. It is also used when the concept being taught that day is not something new or when I feel the students already have an understanding of what we are learning.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They do not currently work on it at home.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I tell them about it at conferences, and both sets of parents are on-board.


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?
No, but I am considering this.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
We grade our second graders on a 1-2-3 point scale - a "3" indicates they have reached the end-of-year benchmark. I use quiz scores, skill center work, and progress in their pie. If they are on ALEKS, it is because they are excelling in math.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I have not set those types of requirements. My students are eager and do not seem to need deadlines at this point.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students are excited when they finish the pie slices. They also love the challenge of learning something new. I have seen growth in test scores, including facts and Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) scores. I am also positive that end-of-year test scores will be great.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I think it is a great intervention to use for gifted students. It facilitates itself and is user-friendly for teachers and students. It is helpful to spend some time on it yourself to discover how things work. I highly recommend logging in with your student information to see what your students are doing. It is a great program.