View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Mount Abraham Union High School, Addison Northeast Supervisory Union
Grade(s): 7 - 12
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
Purpose: RtI, Intervention, Special Education, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 50%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2 hours per week
ALEKS Course: MS RtI Tier 3
Carla Mayo, Math Coach
We have been using ALEKS to supplement an exploratory math intervention class for students who are just below the standard in comparison to their grade level peers. ALEKS has been critical because not only is it able to provide diagnostic and progress information about each individual student, it also provides below grade level practice and resources for students. This is something that we did not have access to at the middle school level. I have found that ALEKS is just hard enough to keep students engaged but not too hard so that they can still experience success. The ALEKS Pie is a great motivator, and we actually offer a homemade pie of choice when students finish the program. Finally, the program is VERY easy to use as a teacher and school administrator. If I cannot figure something out, the customer service is superb.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We did not have an existing math intervention program for middle school students other than a study hall that was devoted to helping them with math homework.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
2-3 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
We knew that just providing kids with homework support in math was not effective because many did not have homework regularly or had no idea how to do the homework. We decided to change our support system so that kids would have the opportunity to work on skills that they should have mastered by middle school but had not. In order to do this, we needed diagnostic information about each student, as well as resources for them if they were found to be below grade level. ALEKS provided all of the support they needed.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students come to class, do a "math minute" (ten math problems on a variety of topics), and have a snack for the first eight minutes. After, they work on QuickTables for ten minutes, work on their pie or get pulled for one-on-one instruction on their area of need for 25 minutes, and then either continue with ALEKS or work with an adult on solving word problem strategies for the remaining ten minutes of class.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
The kids still have regular math class. ALEKS is used as an extra period.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
ALEKS is not required as homework since it is an exploratory class, and they do not get a grade. Even though they are not graded, we do send home updates and ALEKS reports so that parents can see their child's progress. All students are encouraged to work at home, and a few do.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents are mailed information about ALEKS so that they are clear on it's use. They are encouraged to contact me with any questions or concerns.
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?
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
We do not.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Not as of yet, but we are moving towards doing this.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I ran a statistical analysis on the students' pre- and post-assessment results, and the results were amazing. The data showed that improvement was statistically significant. The majority of students feel real ownership about their progress and are invested in completing their pies. In addition, teachers and paraeducators have reported that the confidence level of students using ALEKS in their normal math class has increased.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I find that most middle school kids can't spend much more than half an hour on ALEKS and QuickTables before losing interest. Therefore, keeping the time commitment short for our students has been beneficial.