View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Gibson Southern High School, South Gibson School Corporation
Fort Branch, IN
Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab, Laptop Carts
Purpose: Intervention, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 60%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week, 60 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Algebra 1
Amanda Brown, Teacher
I have been using ALEKS for three years now. My first experience with ALEKS was during my student teaching at Eastern Greene High School. I saw all the benefits of the program, and when I began my first teaching job at Shelbyville High School, I immediately recommended it for the Math Lab class. Shelbyville High School had an extremely low Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) test pass rate for the Algebra 1 End-of-Course Assessment (ECA). By the end of the year, there was a 40 percent jump in the pass rate, after using the ALEKS program. At my current job, I use ALEKS with my remedial Math Lab class. My students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) have had tremendous success using the program. In addition, I recently had a student pass the ECA Algebra 1 test and he had NEVER passed a Math ISTEP test before. Over the course of two years, I have only had three students who have been in my Math Lab class not pass the Algebra 1 ECA, and they did not utilize the ALEKS program. I love the program, and would highly recommend it.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
There was not a class to help students who struggle with math before Math Lab. The administration could not find a program that they liked and felt would improve test scores.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
3 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
I align ALEKS with our textbook, therefore students work on the same material we cover during Math Lab.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
I align ALEKS with the Indiana State Standards, and soon will use the Common Core Standards. I usually follow the order of the current book we use in class.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students open laptops and begin work in the program.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I use ALEKS three days a week, and we do hands-on review games two days a week. Students like the change of pace of ALEKS and being able to work at their own pace.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students are not required to work at home but they are encouraged to do so three times a week.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I have had a few parents who have had their child work in ALEKS at home; however many parents do not require it or do not understand how ALEKS works.
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?
ALEKS is 50 percent of the grade.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I base my students' progress on hours spent in ALEKS, but I do tell students their goal is 60-75 percent completion before the end of the semester.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
My remedial students with IEPs have seen great success with ALEKS when used correctly. Over two years, I have had 60 students with my Math Lab course, and only three of those did not pass the ECA test while incorporating ALEKS into their schedule. I try to help students understand what "good" progress is. Sometimes they have a hard time understanding why they lose pieces of their pie, but in the long run, competitive nature takes over and they push themselves to achieve more.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I love the program, and would highly recommend it with proper instruction. It is very important that teachers receive the proper training before implementing ALEKS in their classrooms. I would also recommend that students keep a notebook with ALEKS notes in it, and count it as a grade.