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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Leland High School, Leland CUSD #1
Leland, IL

Grade(s): K - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Special Education
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 80%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3.5 hours per week, 116 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Algebra Readiness

David Blindt, Teacher
I did a pilot program with my remedial math class. We worked on ALEKS for four weeks, and I was amazed by my students' level of engagement. They started exhibiting all of the characteristics of a grade-level class: having a strong work ethic, trying a problem multiple times, reading the explanations in ALEKS, gloating about their progress, discussing math in correct terms with each other, and seeking instruction to help them continue. I like the adaptive software that provides problems at the appropriate level of difficulty and then increases the level as the student masters the concepts. My Administration is seriously considering continuing this into the next school year with all Algebra students, using the reporting to help us with the data collection requirement for Response to Intervention (RtI). I will finally be able to differentiate the pace and depth of instruction for each student individually, without making the advanced students wait for the Tier 2 students to catch up.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
A large number of Tier 2 students have had a difficult time keeping up with grade level instruction for years.

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?
41 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
I use a standard book for alignment to my state's standards, and use the ALEKS reports to generate a list of students to pull aside and give direct instruction to.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
All students log in and start working on the topics of their choice. I use the report from the previous day to take a select group of students aside for some direct instruction on the area that they are "ready to learn." If students finish all their goals, I have other web-based math activities they can work on. For those who show initiative, I let them work ahead at their own pace and enrich the course at the end of the school year or let them start the next course in their math series.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I no longer have to judge how much practice is enough, since ALEKS gives each student the amount of practice they need to master a topic.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
My community has a number of homes with no computer access, so I leave it up to the students and their families.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I explain the opportunities their child has to exercise greater control over their learning and that ALEKS has solid help to offer in the learning process.


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?
ALEKS is not assigned as homework, only as classroom practice.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I look at the number of attempts and level of mastery to give a participation grade. I use the exams and quizzes in ALEKS for the assessment and learning portion of their grade.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes. I print out a spreadsheet, using their ID numbers to show where they are compared to their classmates.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
My most difficult students, also the ones with the greatest learning issues, were the highest achievers. This was measured using the ALEKS reports to compare student progress against the class average. The students ask each week if they can continue with ALEKS instead of listening to "boring lectures." What could I say, but "yes."


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I love the fact that I can concentrate on the students who require attention, while the advanced students work at a faster pace.