View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Solomon Unified School District 393
Grade(s): K - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab, One-to-One Laptop Program, Online School
Purpose: Summer School, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students, Core Curriculum
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 80%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week
ALEKS Course: High School Preparation for Algebra 1
Jody Siebenmorgen, At-Risk Coordinator
We were looking for a math program to increase our state math scores. Our junior high and high school needed a quick, affordable, and individualized program that could reach a large group of students who were not meeting standards and were also required to enroll in summer school. We developed a math foundations class for those students during the academic year and used ALEKS as our curriculum. We also enrolled the remaining students who were meeting standards into our extended learning opportunities class which allowed them to continue to excel at their own pace. "Academic Warning" is a fear for every school, but it is not a fear for us anymore! ALEKS and all the teachers who work with our students have brought Solomon to the top!
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Scores were low. Numbers were increasingly low.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
4-5 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
We use ALEKS as an additional time filler in non-math classes. We also use it during our enrichment seminars. A few seniors use it for college test preparation.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
We have them follow the curriculum order.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We have the students log on, and we walk around the room helping them, sometimes pulling students for one-on-one instruction. Also, if they are finished in other classes, they can log on to ALEKS for additional work.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
By letting ALEKS teach students at their own pace and individual level, which is one strength that I love about the program. One teacher cannot teach at every student's level in an hour, but ALEKS can.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Of course we always encourage it. I remember a few students telling me they worked on ALEKS in the car on weekend trips. It is hard, though, to compete with their music at those times!
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
By showing them progress reports.
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 assigned to them as 80 percent of the curriculum and not as homework.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
It varies by grade.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
No, they just progress on their own.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
The students have found confidence in their abilities and improved not only their math skills, but also their self-esteem. Kids tend to label themselves based upon their math grade. I saw kids that thought they were "not smart" become smart as a result of their math success on ALEKS! I have since moved and changed schools. However, I was at Solomon for 11 years working with at-risk students. When the school called to tell me their math scores, I was thrilled! There is no more fear of "The Warning."
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I find it simple to use and affordable for our school. It has been easy to learn as the administrator of the program, and it works! I have now moved to a different school three hours away, and I hope to introduce ALEKS here as well. I will also say the technical support is great. Thanks!