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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Poston Butte High School, Florence Unified School District #1
San Tan Valley, AZ

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: One-to-One Laptop Program
Purpose: Special Education, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 80%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 6 hours per week, 70 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), Essential Mathematics (with QuickTables)

David Allen Medley, Teacher
ALEKS has allowed me to fully differentiate my instruction and educate my students where their strengths and shortcomings lie. I enjoy being able to see what my students need help with as a class by viewing the pie charts. I follow up with lessons based on this data by reinforcing the areas that need the most review.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
For Special Education, you need to be able to teach students at their ability level. In one class, you can have ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade students performing at the sixth grade level or lower. It may take up to three months with traditional education methods to find out where students need to begin their progress. With ALEKS, students can quickly find a comfortable starting point.

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?
40 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
It was already integrated when I began teaching.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, I look at the students' reports to see where the most trouble lies.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I structure my class with 20 minutes of lecture and 40 minutes of ALEKS.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I have a little more control in knowing where my students need help. Whereas before, many students would either have already mastered a concept or not have any familiarity with it. Now, I know when a student is ready to learn a new concept.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They are encouraged to work on ALEKS for 30 minutes each night.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I give parents progress reports based on the data and encourage them to check out the program when they can.


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?
Yes, it is a major component of their classwork and homework.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I include ALEKS as a homework/classwork grade, which is 20 percent of the class grade. I generate 50 percent of their tests from ALEKS worksheets, in addition to the regular class tests and other homework sheets.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes, we require students to complete a minimum of three hours and five objectives. I doubled that requirement for my class.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I have seen students grow and learn more with ALEKS then they have with traditional methods due to the discrepancies in their learning progress. As a Special Education teacher, it is of utmost importance to be able to tailor the curriculum to my students' needs. ALEKS allows my students to grow at their own pace and not be left behind the curve. The students are very encouraged by their progress and look forward to seeing their pie grow each day. In addition, the students find comfort in the explanations and the ease of the interface.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I suggest breaking down the objectives into daily, rather than weekly, progress goals. I also suggest keeping up-to-date on each student's progress and assessments just as frequently.