View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Metea Valley High School, Indiana Prairie Community Unit School District 204
Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Special Education, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2 hours per week, 10 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Middle School Math Course 2, Middle School Math Course 3, High School Preparation for Algebra 1
Jackie Palmquist, Math Department Chair
Finally, a gap-filling, student-friendly, teacher-accessible resource! We use ALEKS to help Algebra students who lack prerequisite skills as well as with our Special Education Consumer Math students. We like how it is individualized for each student and how easy it is to track progress and usage.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We had problems with time-on-task and motivation. Teachers had to develop a system that works for them.
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?
I just carved out the time needed for ALEKS, and had the teachers implement it as part of the day.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, it is the student's choice. It is important that they feel they have some control.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Double block Algebra uses it for one class period, two times per week. My other math classes use it one time per week and often on Fridays after the weekly assessment.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
Kids make the connections for me about what they have already learned. They say, "Hey, we just learned this" or "I already did that in ALEKS."
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They get extra credit incentive to work on it over long breaks. They also get incentives for finishing pieces of their pie.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents are shown the power of ALEKS at Parent Night.
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?
No, unless they are absent, and then they are required to make up the time they missed.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Daily points are earned for ALEKS participation based on time logged in and number of topics attempted versus mastered. Each week total is about 20 or 25 points, and this goes into the homework participation category. ALEKS accounts for 15 percent of the overall grade.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Individualized goals are set with the teacher's input. The goals are monitored by both the teacher and student.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I have seen student confidence improve as their basic math skills improve, and they are able to get out of lower track programs. Most students embrace it as an opportunity to learn and show what they know. The individualization allows for them to not be embarrassed by what they don't know in front of peers, and it gives them confidence to help their classmates when they have completed a strand.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Let ALEKS be separate from what you do in class. It is nice for students to be encouraged with this program when they are having difficulty learning a topic in class. Additionally, use the email/conversation tool in ALEKS to talk to the kids. You will be surprised by how much communication you receive.