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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Virden High School, Virden Community Unit School District 4
Virden, IL

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab, Home Access
Purpose: Supplement, Improve State Test Scores
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 25-30%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3.5 hours per week, 31.5 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Foundations of High School Math, Algebra 2

Cinthia Gillespie, Teacher
We used ALEKS for three months with our Juniors. I used the program twice a week as a classroom activity (in our library lab) for the students to reinforce and practice their math skills, and practice for the ACT. I find that most students are glad to use a program that only lets them work on the problems that they need to work on, and that they don't have to work at the same pace, like in the classroom.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We had some bad experiences with math teachers in the past, so ALEKS was a way for students to relearn math that they hadn't been taught in previous 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?
46 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
We use ALEKS as a supplement program.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No. The students are allowed to work at their own pace.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We work exclusively with ALEKS in the computer lab. Students log on, then pick up where they left off from the previous session.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I find that I am able to teach things that use the skills that students practiced while in the program.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They are required to work 30 minutes in ALEKS outside of class each week.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I encourage the parents to allow their students to work on ALEKS at home, even if they are done with their 30 minutes for the week.


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?
It is approximately 20 percent of the homework for the week.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
The students receive 10 participation points per class period that we work in the lab, and 30 points as a homework grade for the work completed outside of class.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I check to make sure that students are making progress, but do not keep track of how much.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students using ALEKS have better success on the classroom work, and are able to use their knowledge to solve new problems that I send their way. It seems that the majority of students are pleased with being able to work on math that is individualized to what they actually need. I even have a couple of students that I could move up a level!


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Students using ALEKS have better success on the classroom work, and are able to use their knowledge to solve new problems that I send their way. It seems that the majority of students are pleased with being able to work on math that is individualized to what they actually need. I even have a couple of students that I could move up a level!