View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Donaldsonville High School, Ascension Parish Public Schools
Grade(s): 7 - 12
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
Purpose: RtI, Core Curriculum, Improve State Test Scores
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 90%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1.5-2 hours per week; 14-20 hours per term
ALEKS Course: RtI 7, Middle School Math Course 2
Christina Vallejo, Teacher
At first I was concerned about the amount of time per week that was required from my curriculum, but once ALEKS became a routine it made sense! My students love to challenge themselves and each other by how many points they can move. It is great for reinforcing skills we've already taught and skills students should've mastered last year that they may be rusty on. Also, when a few of my students were moved to the RtI group, I really saw a confidence boost in them because their pies looked different and the skills were more on their level! They have all been emailing me recently through ALEKS to say that they do enjoy it. I know they like the computers, but I enjoy the relaxation of knowing my students are receiving quality lessons and feedback!
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Reading word problems, basic math skills such as rounding and estimation, and working with fractions and decimals. Once they get to seventh and eighth grade, they couldn't move on and were behind because they never mastered basic elementary math skills.
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?
How do you implement ALEKS?
At first it was a great assessment to see where students were with the basics. Now I use it mostly for reinforcing or introducing skills. I have given a few quizzes and it's nice to have it already graded for you!
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Parallel! I've tried several things and parallel stations are the best. I teach my lesson twice each block, but I have smaller groups with more focused attention, and my students that are in computer lab (located on the opposite side) are focused on their ALEKS lesson or lesson worksheets.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
First, I had to figure out how to make it work in my classroom using time wisely. Then I had to figure out how to motivate students to "move" themselves. Now I am trying to figure out how to use the program to my advantage in my class! One step at a time!
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They are encouraged all the time and get a bonus for doing so.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
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, not all students have access to computers at home.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
They must complete a lesson or at least 1-2 percent each time they log in. Any more is a bonus for our bonus program - tiger bucks to buy candy, pens, pencils, etc.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
It's exciting to see students' progress in the program, but I also notice it when I see their worksheets that they create. I have a bonus system for the worksheets to motivate them and most of my students are doing a great job completing them! My top students are always challenging each other and it's fun to watch them compete with their percents and pies, but the most positive outcomes are my weaker students. Ever since I started getting excited over them moving two percent each time they are in ALEKS, they've wanted to go back and do more lessons to say, "now how much did it move?" So ALEKS has been an entertaining experience as well.