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Clovis High School, Clovis Unified School District
Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Intervention, Exit Exam, Special Education, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 100%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 4.5 hours per week, 80 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Algebra 1, High School Geometry, Algebra 2
Susie Kelpe, Teacher
ALEKS has been an excellent tool in the Clovis Math Lab over the last four years. It allows me to work with students of all levels to achieve a variety of math goals. The tracking and progress is especially helpful with my Resource Specialist Program (RSP) and Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings to show other teachers and parents exactly what the student knows, how they work, and most importantly, how they test. It has been exceptional with the English Language Learner (ELL) students to help them learn English syntax and vocabulary. It has helped us place total immersion language learners in the correct level of math. The multiple opportunities and the immediate feedback on correct and incorrect answers is a very helpful tool to both the student and the teacher. It allows for teacher intervention immediately when learning a new concept. Explanations allow for students' independent learning and an increased exposure to math vocabulary.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
The biggest challenge was providing individualized instruction directed at the skills each specific student needed to learn. Packets were the common approach.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
4 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
55 - 110 minutes.
How do you implement ALEKS?
I was told about the product when I was given the job assignment for the math lab. I have since added the incoming students that are below grade level (General Math) to the students that use ALEKS. We have used it over the past few summers for students that want to work on their math skills for the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
I always have the students start will filling in the Number Sense part of the pie and work them into the other areas as objectives become available.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
They have daily charts that match the categories on the pie and they fill in the charts at the end of each period. They also have a box to record daily total improvement. Each week I attach a label that includes their "All Time High" and the goal for the next week. Every two weeks I assign an assessment.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I lecture very little and I work one on one with all my students.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Always! But many do not have computers so they are encouraged to use ALEKS in the Math lab after school or at the school library. By giving them a goal they know what they are working towards.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
At least two times a year I show parents the program - during Back to School Night and at Open House. It is part of my syllabus given when a student enters the class. It is also discussed when I attend an IEP meeting or have contact with parents through the counselor.
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?
Because of computer access it falls in the Classwork/Homework category.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
There is a two week rotation. For the first week, 50 points are given in the homework category (25 points for learning eight new objectives and 25 points for reaching a goal). During the second week, 100 points are given in the test category (50 points for test percentage outcome based on growth from the previous test and another 50 points for learning new objectives and reaching their goal.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes, they must learn eight new topics per week.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
The most notable achievement is a 100 percent pass rate on the CAHSEE with students that are involved with the CAHSEE Math Lab opportunity. When my at-risk students first started with ALEKS they were angry; they have always been able to get by the system. When their grade is tied to goals and objectives and the mastery of the material they are often not very successful. It takes about six weeks for them to figure out that the work has to be done and that they will finally master the skills needed to pass if they put hard work into the course. After taking the CAHSEE, they often come in and talk about how it was the same stuff they had been doing on ALEKS and how they felt they had done well on the test.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Using the charts and setting goals really helps my kids be accountable.