View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Wasson High School, Colorado Springs School District 11
Colorado Springs, CO
Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab, One-to-One Laptop Program, Computers in Classroom
Purpose: Intervention, Special Education, RtI
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 25-100%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3.5 hours per week
ALEKS Course: RtI 6, RtI 8, Foundations of High School Math
Merril Boruchin-Spielman, Special Education Teacher
I find ALEKS to be user-friendly and an excellent intervention for closing the achievement gap. I value the fact that ALEKS allows students to work at their own pace. The pie chart is great, and students love being able to work on different areas of math each day; they enjoy seeing their progress. ALEKS doesn't let anything slip by, so I know every student is getting everything mastered or they won't move forward. It is the only program I recommend for both public school and private tutoring that has age appropriate instruction at the student's level, and allows choice to be included in its daily activities.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We have not had a program that was this successful. Previous programs didn't come close in effectiveness. Finding gaps in evaluations and implementing a strategic intervention was not successful.
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 use it with my Individual Education Program (IEP) students as an intervention for those who are not taking math classes and need to keep their math skills sharp.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students are required to do at least 20 minutes of ALEKS at a time. They have three rotations of small group instruction, individual instruction, and ALEKS computer time. Each rotation is a 90 minute block.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I find that my individual instruction is directly related to the students' difficulties in completing a slice of the pie graph!
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Daily, for at least 15 minutes. It usually ends up being for one hour, three times a week!
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I encourage parents to monitor and feel good about their student's progress. Every parent enjoys watching their child make progress.
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?
It is the only homework assigned at this time.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I grade on participation in ALEKS. They fill out a form that I developed with their time on and time off, so they are sure if they did at least 20 minutes. It is like signing in at work; if they don't sign in at work, even if they do work, they will not get paid. This is a life skill, so I incorporate that into my day! If they sign in, work, and are not idle, that part of their grade is an A or 100 percent! Students making progress are given either 85 percent or 100 percent. They are very clear on their responsibilities and are not resistant.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
They follow ALEKS' recommendations for the amount of progress to make in a certain amount of time. We also have contests for slices of pies completed. They are not responsible for a certain amount of progress; if they are working, progress will happen!
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
All of my students are making progress. The students enjoy knowing they are making progress and do not complain about the program at all. Some students race to complete their pie graphs.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Students should be responsible for recording their own time on ALEKS instead of the teacher or parent.