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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Georges Valley High School, Regional School Unit 13
Thomaston, ME

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: One-to-One Laptop Program
Purpose: RtI, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 30-100%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2.5 hours per week, 35 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), High School Preparation for Algebra 1, Algebra 1, Trigonometry, AP Statistics (Quantitative)

Esther Hatch, Teacher
ALEKS is great at individualizing instruction for students; they have instruction that meets them where they are. They are willing to use ALEKS and don't complain about the various math topics that come up. ALEKS allows students to move through new math problems very well.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
It was hard to find curriculum that matched each student's need.

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?
80 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
We tried ALEKS with one small remedial class, saw how it worked, and thought about how else it could be used.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
For the remedial class, any order they choose. For PreCalculus, the order of the book.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students complete six topics, and then take a break. After the break, they use QuickTables and are done for the day.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
For my PreCalculus class, ALEKS is used in lieu of nightly homework. The Intermediate Objectives are set to direct students to the topics we are currently studying.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
PreCalculus students are required to use it at home weekly. Remedial students are encouraged, but often don't.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents are aware of ALEKS and that aspects like QuickTables can be used without any further instruction.


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?
For PreCalculus, all, although it counts as a test/quiz grade because ALEKS won't reward the topic unless it's mastered.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Ten percent classwork, 30 percent for QuickTables, and 60 percent for the topic percentage achieved by the quarter. For the first quarter, it is a portion of 25 percent, second quarter is 50 percent, third is 75 percent, and by the fourth quarter they should be all done.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
In the remedial class, mastery of six topics per class is required as classwork.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
With ALEKS, students have instruction that meets them where they are. A course can be selected that is not too tough or easy. They are willing to use ALEKS and don't complain about the various math topics that come up. ALEKS allows students to move through new math problems very well.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
When assigning ALEKS as homework, give more smaller homework assignments than larger ones. Students will tackle five topics for four days more than they will tackle 20 topics for one day. At first I gave weekly or bi-weekly assignments that were larger and students didn't finish them. When they were smaller, the students finished them. Offering bonus points for being the first to finish encouraged some to read the explanations themselves and finish the work before I taught it in class.