View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Tonasket Alternative High School, Tonasket School District
Grade(s): 8 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab, Computers in Classroom
Purpose: Intervention, Special Education, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1.5 hours per week, 30 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Essential Mathematics (with QuickTables), Algebra Readiness, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2
John W. Jones, Teacher
We use ALEKS two days per week as a supplemental math program for basic, lower level math through Algebra 2. There is no better program on the market. After nearly 20 years of teaching alternative high school students, I have seen the results. My students who were once written off as unlikely to meet the state requirements are now passing the state testing. In addition, whenever I have requested information from ALEKS Customer Support, I received immediate feedback and results.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Slow grading slowed down student progress. Results would have to be analyzed individually by the teacher and a plan would have to be developed. ALEKS helps my ability to adjust student learning plans much more easily.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
2 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
We use ALEKS to first identify a student's level of knowledge, and to then provide instruction to progress them through a course that will best fill their knowledge gaps. We test and reassess regularly.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Each student requires a different learning path.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We rotate our students at three different levels: Red (low), Yellow (moderate), and Green (advanced). The classes are structured according to the levels, and ALEKS is used as one of our five assessment tools to place students into each level. There is always a teacher or aide available to help when a student has questions that ALEKS cannot answer.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
As the state changes its math requirements, we read and downloaded practice tests and curriculum. We then use ALEKS results and quizzes to identify our students' level of knowledge of the state requirements. If we identify that students have knowledge gaps in critical topics, we design better curriculum for progress towards state testing results.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Some students, especially those that are getting behind or are absent, will work on ALEKS at home.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents usually just provide technical support from home.
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, if students have schedules that require outside work, they will work at home. Some students print out worksheets and take them home to get caught up or to earn extra credit.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Yes, I balance hands-on work with homework using a four point system. I also incorporate ALEKS results, such as quizzes, assessments, homework assignments, and lessons into student grades.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I require one and a half hours a week on ALEKS for students that go to school four days a week, attend our hands-on classes, and attain at least 60 percent or better. There are no students that work only on ALEKS
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Supplemental, bi-weekly use of ALEKS along with one-on-one math assistance has helped our students plug math holes as far back as third grade. We have moved students from lower levels to high school levels in about half the time with the use of ALEKS. Many students like the visual rewards of ALEKS, and seeing the immediate results lets them stay in touch with their progress. In addition, knowing that they have a detailed explanation just a click away helps them try the more difficult problems.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Alternative school students used to balk at doing any math. I have designed the program so that once a student logs on and gets started quickly, he/she can listen to music with a head set on. If a student's time and results show low or slow improvement, I drop the music incentive.