View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Faith School, Faith School District 46-2
Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: One-to-One Laptop Program
Purpose: Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, Special Education, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 100%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3-3.5 hours per week, 120 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Foundations of High School Math, High School Geometry, Algebra 2
Kelly Shoemaker, Teacher
I use ALEKS for students that have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for Special Education and for students that come to our school that are behind a grade level or need instruction above the classes that we offer. The ability to have the program assess where the student's knowledge is and go from that point is what all teachers essentially would like to do. I feel that with many students in a class, it is almost impossible to be at each student's current level - we are either too high or too low a level, so we teach to the middle. With this program, you help them at the level they are currently at, and they can pick what they want to work on.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We had trouble filling the gap between where the students were in their success in math. Where some students may have been lost in the shuffle before, they can now work from where they are to as far as they can go.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
4 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
It is the full curriculum for the students that are on it. I also encourage students to sign up for ALEKS during the summer to keep them from losing math knowledge.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, the students pick for themselves, knowing that the goal is to be totally finished with the whole pie.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
They are to login right away and work on the topics they can. If they need instruction on a problem beyond the explanation, they ask another student to explain it. If this still doesn't help, I do several examples for them.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
Instead of lecturing and having students do those types of problems, the students try to do the pieces of the pie that they pick themselves. By figuring out how to do them on their own, they empower themselves. When students run into trouble and ask each other for help, they are improving their knowledge by sharing it with someone else. If they cannot figure it out together, then I do several examples to model how to do the problem.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They are encouraged to work on it at home whenever they choose. They are given points for the work they get done each day in class and for how well they do on their assessments.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I tell the parents that the sooner they have achieved up to or over 90 percent on their assessment in a particular class, they will be given credit for that class. They are then encouraged to start on another more challenging class.
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?
I do not assign ALEKS as homework. If they need help with it, I would like to be there to aid in their difficulties as soon as possible.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
They get six points for every topic they have mastered, and two points for everything that is partially mastered. They are required to get at least ten points per day. On their assessments, they are given the percentage they receive multiplied by four if it is the first nine-weeks, by three if it is the second nine-weeks, two if it is the third nine-weeks, and one if it is the fourth nine-weeks.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
They are required to get at least ten points per day and must take a requested assessment every other Thursday.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Some students go very fast and are very encouraged by looking at their pie. They feel great when they get to the completion screen.