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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Mendota High School, Mendota High School District 280
Mendota, IL

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: RtI, Credit Recovery, Summer School
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 10%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 4-17.5 hours per week, 62-72 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Algebra 1, High School Geometry, Algebra 2

Elizabeth Tucker, Teacher
ALEKS has been very beneficial to us in two areas. It provides reinforcement and review for students who need it. It also allows us to run many different summer school classes at the same time to allow for credit retrieval for students who need it. ALEKS is best used for this purpose when the student has sat through the classroom instruction first. We have seen many students retrieve their credit and move on to the next course.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We did not offer summer school since all of the students couldn't be accommodated due to the number of courses we would need to run.

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?
49-210 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
We started using ALEKS as credit retrieval during the school year, one evening per week which didn't work very well. Students weren't showing up and they would forget everything without daily reinforcement. We moved to summer school where we meet several hours a day, and they can usually get through a semester in the four week time frame. We also offer a Response to Intervention (RtI) class during the school year where the students meet every day for a 49 minute class period for the entire semester, like any other class. This also has been fairly effective.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Usually it is independent study on the part of the student, and it is all ALEKS because they have already been through classroom instruction.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
One semester, I used ALEKS for a group of Algebra 1 students who seemed fairly week in basic skills. I tried to get them into the lab one day per week to reinforce basic skills and what we had been covering in class.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They are encouraged to work on ALEKS all the time. We don't require it because not all students have computer access at home.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We notify parents of what ALEKS involves, and how it is available to them at home.


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?
No.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
The students either get credit or don't get credit based on getting through their total topics at a 70 percent level. We use the progress assessments as the guides.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
In summer school, I do not require regular amounts of progress. However, I am in constant touch with the students, letting them know exactly what they need to be doing and encouraging them to work on it at home if necessary. During the school year, the same type of thing is happening with the RtI class. We use the progress assessments as guides.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
We have seen many students retrieve their credit and be able to move on to the next course. At first the kids seem pretty overwhelmed by the number of topics to master; after working in the program for a while, they have a tendency to realize that the length of time that it takes them is their choice.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
It takes trial and error on the part of the teacher to determine what works best for them. We did find that if we are going to use ALEKS as credit retrieval, the student is more successful if they have already sat through the classroom instruction. The material is not totally brand new then and is usually easier on the student.