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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Itineris Early College High School, Private
West Jordan, UT

Grade(s): 11 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Intervention
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 12%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3-5 hours per week; 36 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, High School Geometry, PreCalculus

Karen Cavin, Teacher
ALEKS has been an excellent tool for remediation. We are an early college high school and it is our intent to get most of our students through an Associates Degree by the time they are ready to graduate from high school. As a public charter school we have a wide diversity of students and many come to us with a weaker background in mathematics than is necessary to enter concurrent enrollment classes at the college where we are located. ALEKS is a lifesaver for these kids. Within a year, or even a semester, most are well prepared to start taking these college-level courses and are then able to achieve their goals. Thank you.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
As a small school with under 250 students and only three math teachers, it was almost impossible to meet the needs of the 20 or so kids that needed remediation at every level from basic math to Algebra 2.

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
2-3 days per week.

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


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
ALEKS is used as remediation and as a bridge for students who want extra help and time before jumping up to the next college-level course.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
I usually let the program guide the students, as we use it almost exclusively to fit individualized needs.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
This varies.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
It allows us to not have to use a textbook as a one-size-fits-all approach.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
2-3 hours a week.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents LOVE that their kids can get help especially designed for their own individualized needs and are very supportive.


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?
Yes; it is used about 20-66 percent depending on how we use it.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS accounts for 20-67 percent of a student's grade.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
We use assigned assessments and they also factor into their grades, although I usually grade mostly on time spent each week and pie pieces mastered. This is generally a boost for those who excel at having gained a lot of ground.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
The students who have taken advantage of the ALEKS program have almost all have been successful in greatly advancing their standing in mathematics. One of our students told me they had learned more math in one semester on ALEKS than they had in all of their first 10 years of schooling. It does not let the kids "fake it" and requires mastery. This is frustrating for those students who have been pushed through the system appearing to be successful, but it's just what our school needs.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
One thing we've done is schedule some time on a bi-weekly basis where students teach the rest of the class something that they have recently learned from ALEKS. The kids really enjoy it.