View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Riverview East Academy, Cincinnati Public Schools
Grade(s): K - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Intervention, Credit Recovery, At-Risk Students, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1.5 hours per week, 12-15 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), Foundations of High School Math, PreCalculus
Rebecca Richmond, Teacher
In my 12 years of experience teaching math, I have never had a student complain because the bell rung and class ended. I have also never had students so actively involved in a computer-based program for the entire class period and always on task. My students truly enjoy the fact that they get to pick what they work on. I think this directly encourages my students to want to complete topics since they are doing what they want in the program. ALEKS helps my students not only build content knowledge, but also confidence in math. This, in turn, improves the overall grades in my classes and students are now excited about working on math. As an educator, that is a great feeling!
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
The challenge that the class faced was lack of interest in math, participation, and a deeper level of understanding. As a school, our math scores have struggled for the past few years.
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?
How do you implement ALEKS?
I use ALEKS as a supplement and review for two of my classes. These students use ALEKS twice a week. I also have a PreCalculus class for seniors. I am using ALEKS to prepare them for college entrance exams and for college itself. These students use ALEKS everyday to work on topics that they are rusty on and to get ahead on the PreCalculus topics for college.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
All of my students are still in their first ALEKS course. They pick what topics they want to work on. I like how ALEKS allows students to work on appropriate topics based on their assessments.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I allow the students to work at their own pace during the class period. Once every other week, I create a quiz on ALEKS for each individual student based on the topics that the student has mastered. Both the daily topics mastered and the quizzes taken are factored in to the classroom grade.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
Knowing which topics students have mastered has allowed me to tailor my class lessons so they are more effective for all of the students. As a class, we work on the topics that the majority of the students have mastered. If students get stuck on a topic in class, they will have the opportunity to revisit the material in ALEKS when we can work individually in the computer lab.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students are encouraged to work in ALEKS at home whenever they have free time. The problem is that not many of my students have computer access at home.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
My students have discussed ALEKS with their parents and I have also sent home a letter explaining the benefits of using ALEKS in school.
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. I use ALEKS in class only since my students have limited access to computers outside the classroom.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
The ALEKS quizzes that I create are counted as a quiz grade in my class, just as I would count a written quiz. Each day that a student works in ALEKS, they receive 10 points towards their classwork assignment grade. The condition to this is that the students must complete a minimum of two topics per class period.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I have not held students to a set amount of progress. Students work at their own pace and own level. A student that is lower in the amount of topics completed is working just as hard as a student that has completed more topics.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Since students are always on task, they are completing an average of 2 to 5 topics in a class period. My students get excited about watching their progress. After completing each topic, they check their pie pieces to see how many topics are complete. Some students have completed the second course assessment and have seen how much progress they have made. This gives my students the confidence in math that they have been lacking. As a direct result of this, my students are performing better in class.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I would highly recommend that other teachers have students try ALEKS so that they can get hooked. Once the students believe in the program, you can tailor your expectations from there. I just love the excitement that I see from my students. As many of them have told me, this program is addicting.