ALEKS - Assessment and Learning

Implementation Strategies

View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes. 

Submit your ALEKS implementation strategy by completing our online survey.

Sequoia Choice Distance Learning, Independent
Black Canyon, AZ

Grade(s): 10 - 12
Scenario: Online School
Purpose: Intervention, Credit Recovery, At-Risk Students, Core Curriculum
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 75%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 25 hours per week, 90 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), Middle School Math Course 2, Middle School Math Course 3, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, High School Geometry, Algebra 2

Deborah Clement, Advisor
As a high school distance learning advisor, I have had about fifty students using ALEKS for math. I love that ALEKS pinpoints a student's weaknesses and focuses on teaching those concepts before jumping into content that relies on prior knowledge the student may be lacking. My students enjoy having immediate feedback and watching their pie chart fill in. It is a fast, visual way to see their course progress. They like the fact that ALEKS will not waste their time teaching topics they already know, but will go back and make sure they are retaining necessary information. Our retention rate averages over 90 percent. That is amazing!


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
It is difficult to find ways to keep an entire class engaged when reteaching a concept only a few students need extra help with. ALEKS assesses for prior knowledge, teaches what needs to be learned, checks for retention, and then reteaches if necessary.

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?
60 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
I teach five different subject matters, with students in first and second semesters of each. It gets pretty crazy, but I can let ALEKS take over while I supplement with online lessons and question/answer sessions scheduled throughout the day.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
The math classes cover material in the order presented in the textbook; chapter by chapter and ALEKS works well this way.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students are given a course in ALEKS and textbooks are used as a supplemental aid for additional explanation, practice problems, etc.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
Prior to ALEKS, students were given a lesson, reading assignment and then practice problems to do, followed by a quiz. There was no reteaching or checking for retention as there should be. Now, ALEKS does the pre- and post-assessments and frees my time up to address individual student needs.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
This is an online school where students mostly work from home. There are computer labs throughout Arizona, and students at those labs are encouraged to continue their work at home on ALEKS, particularly if they are behind.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents are encouraged to log in with the student, click on the report option and check two things: the number of hours the student is putting into the class, and the progress bars down at the bottom of the report. Our concern is for the student to spend enough time logged in to have the opportunity to learn, and when logged in, they are actually progressing. Other students may log in and not understand an explanation and need outside assistance to get over that learning hump.


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?
Students are assigned almost all work from ALEKS. It amounts to about 95 percent of their coursework with occasional labs in person with me and quizzes outside of ALEKS.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
The grade is comprised of: a 20 percent participation grade based on time logged into ALEKS; a 20 percent retention grade based on ALEKS periodic assessments; a 20 percent quiz grade outside of ALEKS; a 20 percent lab grade based on student participation in labs with me at a local site or library; and a 20 grade for the final exam.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes, students are expected to gain two topics daily or 10 topics per week minimum. This occurs naturally, if the student is actively involved in ALEKS one hour per day.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
ALEKS aligns well with our high school textbooks. I love that ALEKS pinpoints a student's weaknesses and focuses on teaching those concepts before jumping into content that relies on prior knowledge the student may be lacking. One of my 16-year-old students has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for math, and started the school year out at a fifth grade level. So far this year, he has gained three grade levels and actually enjoys the subject matter now! My students enjoy having immediate feedback and watching their pie chart fill in. It is a fast, visual way to see their course progress. They like the fact that ALEKS will not waste their time teaching topics they already know, but will go back and make sure they are retaining necessary information. Our retention rate averages over 90 percent. That is amazing!


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
The most important things I can recommend are to keep track of your student's time logged into ALEKS and the progress/retention records available on the report page.