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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Cheney High School, Cheney School District
Cheney, WA

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab, Laptop Carts
Purpose: Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 40%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week, 25-36 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Essential Mathematics (with QuickTables), Foundations of High School Math, Algebra 1

Karen R. Runyon, Teacher/ Math Instructional Coach
Using ALEKS has been a very positive and beneficial experience for my students.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We were challenged by the need to provide differentiated instruction for students in our remedial math classes.

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
2 days per week.

What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
45-50 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
I informed the students that we would be using ALEKS twice a week, and that there would be minimal out of class work.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Sometimes, although it depends on what we are working on. I often tell the students in my Algebra class to find the place in ALEKS where that topic is covered and work on it. I also use ALEKS to quiz students on current material.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I have students go and get their laptop out of the cart, and then while it is turning on and they are logging on, I have a warm-up activity they do and we discuss. We also have a closing activity at the end of class.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I had to condense my direct instruction and modify the written homework assignments to allow for that third hour of computer time that I expected.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students are directed to work an additional hour (or more) outside of class.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I tell them about the program via a newsletter and the benefits that the program offers their son or daughter. I also tell parents whose students are not in an ALEKS class that they can purchase a license for their student to use at home to build math skills.


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?
ALEKS is part of their homework responsibility. It is 40 percent of their homework grade. 

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Assignments count for 30 percent of their total grade; and tests and quizzes count for 70 percent of their total grade. I also use the quiz scores that are provided by quizzes that I create as part of their test/quiz category.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I encourage progress, but I require the time. I realize that students progress at different rates, so I am hesitant to set a specific amount of progress. However, I am pleased with the amount of progress that all of my students have made. Rarely do I have a student who lags in ALEKS, unless they've been absent a lot.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
In our remedial math classes, I have seen students make significant gains and build their self-confidence. We tell students that if they complete their ALEKS course, they can move on to another course and they are very receptive to this incentive. Most of our students are proud of the progress that they have made. There are always a few who do not like working on computers, but with encouragement and one-on-one assistance, they usually enjoy the program and show improvement. Some students show fabulous gains and are so eager to complete their current ALEKS course. These eager students inspire others in the class.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
If our computers are running slow, I have a second activity going on as well.