View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Maranatha Baptist Academy, Private
Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, Summer School, Core Curriculum
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 10%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 4 hours per week, 72 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, High School Geometry, PreCalculus, Trigonometry, Fundamentals of Accounting (Sole Proprietorship)
Heidi Braughler, Math Department Chair
We love ALEKS. We use it during the summer for remedial help and for students wishing to skip a class, as well as during the school year for students whose schedules do not permit them to have face-to-face math class. We have had students successfully complete the courses necessary for graduation, often faster than normal and with better retention rates. ALEKS continuously makes students review, so students do not have the opportunity to forget. The students' attitude about ALEKS has been overwhelmingly positive. Math is often not their favorite class, but they are able to see their progress in ALEKS as they complete tasks and fill in their pie. Often, they will come to me with statements like, "Mrs. B, I went up four percent today" or "Mrs. B, now I'm at 80 percent!" I may never get them to like math, but at least they are tolerating it with ALEKS.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Teachers often ended up teaching multiple math classes in the same hour to try to accommodate students who weren't where the rest of the class was in math. Now students at all levels work on ALEKS during that same hour and are able to get the math credit they need. ALEKS frees up the teachers to only teach one class each hour, which is a huge improvement!
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?
How do you implement ALEKS?
Students who don't fit in a face-to-face class work on ALEKS during that same hour and are still able to get the math credit they need. Students work individually on their ALEKS topics during the entire math hour and ask the math teacher questions if they have any.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
The students individually cover the ALEKS topics in any order the program allows.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students work individually on ALEKS for the entire math hour, asking the math teacher questions whenever they need help. ALEKS is their entire math class.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
The best thing is that I haven't had to modify what I do at all. I can modify ALEKS to match what topics I cover in the Algebra 1 class, thereby ensuring that students who do face-to-face instruction and those who use ALEKS cover the same material, receive the same credit, and are ready for our Algebra 2 class.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They often choose to work on ALEKS at home but are not required to do so unless they are in danger of not finishing the class by the end of the school year.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Our parents have been thrilled with ALEKS. They appreciate the fact that their child is not "wasting time" learning things they already know.
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?
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is 100 percent of their grade. Whatever percentage of the class they finish is the percentage they receive for the class on their report card.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
We don't require them to have certain amounts done but do notify the parents on their report cards the percentage of ALEKS they have completed to that point, so at the first quarter, they should have 25 percent or more completed, and at the semester, have 50 percent or more completed, etc.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
We have had students successfully complete the courses necessary for graduation, often faster than normal and with better retention rates. ALEKS continuously makes students review, so students do not have the opportunity to forget. The students' attitude about ALEKS has been overwhelmingly positive. Math is often not their favorite class, but they are able to see their progress in ALEKS as they complete tasks and fill in their pie. Often, they will come to me with statements like, "Mrs. B, I went up four percent today" or "Mrs. B, now I'm at 80 percent!" I may never get them to like math, but at least they are tolerating it with ALEKS.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Implement it wherever and whenever you can. We have certainly found nothing of this quality for the price. Even when the parents are paying out of their pocket for the ALEKS classes, which is over and above their regular tuition (as is the case for summer school or tutoring), we still have found nothing that matches the excellence of this program.