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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Ephrata High School, Ephrata Area School District
Ephrata, PA

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab, Laptop Carts, Home Access
Purpose: Exit Exam
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 50%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3.75 hours per week, 168.75 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Algebra 1, High School Geometry

Jason D. Buck, Math Teacher
My experience with ALEKS has been great! I am told by my district administration to differentiate instruction, but find it impossible to do with some of my low-level classes. ALEKS helps me differentiate instruction automatically and allows students to improve their understanding of all the concepts they need for the corresponding course they are also enrolled in. I have my students for one period in the lab using ALEKS and a second period in my classroom studying Geometry. It's absolutely wonderful!


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Some students are ready for Geometry, but most are not. We are constantly trying to reteach concepts while also trying to move ahead into new content. We are also pressured by the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) and needing to provide enrichment courses for students who are predicted to score below basic. ALEKS is exactly what we need!

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
5 days per week.

What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
45 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
We are using it for our double period math classes. One period is the regular Geometry or Algebra 1 course content and instruction, and the other period was designed as the enrichment period to help students improve their math skills for the PSSA and SAT, as well as to be better prepared for their current and future math classes.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
We align the ALEKS topics with our textbook series.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
One period is for ALEKS, and the other period is for the regular teaching. Students during the ALEKS enrichment class work individually for the entire 45 minute period. I do help students who can't understand a topic simply by using the explain button.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I haven't had to modify my regular teaching because our elective enrichment course is a separate period.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
I encourage them to work from home every day.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
On parents' night, we had an ALEKS presentation and demonstration. Each of the teachers who are using ALEKS discussed it with their students' parents.


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?
It is a separate class that they are enrolled in. They are required to work on it during the class period.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Since it is a separate class period, the students receive a grade for that class based on their ALEKS performance. We use a linear combination of their hours of practice time, initial assessment percentage, and performance/cumulative assessment percentages.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I expect students to make progress each day, usually 1-3 topics, depending on difficulty. Some exceed that expectation. The progress is measured by the difference between their current percentage and their initial percentage or the percentage of their most recent assessment.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Since using ALEKS, I've seen students perform better on content from previous courses. I have also noticed that my students feel more prepared.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I recommend a notebook for each student to use while working on ALEKS.