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Lee Academy, Private
Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
Purpose: Special Education, At-Risk Students, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 80%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2-3 hours per week, 25 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), MS RtI Tier 3
Jim Flynn, Special Education Teacher
ALEKS replaced another electronic program we used. I was leery about using ALEKS at first because I was very impressed with our current program. After using ALEKS this year, I am even more impressed with this system for five reasons: the graphics are better, the students like the idea of selecting the topics, the reports generated are easy to read and to explain to the student and/or parent, the support from our consultant was exceptional, and it functions well as an assessment/placement tool.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
As a teacher, one of the greatest challenges in the past was to remember each student's level of math knowledge from year to year or even class to class. With an individualized program with stored memory, the chances of going over material already covered or presenting new material without a sound base level of skills have been eliminated.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
2-3 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
ALEKS is the primary portion of the math class.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, the student chooses the topics.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
ALEKS is the primary portion of the math class. These are small Special Education classes with 1-4 students each. The teacher functions as a resource for the students to use when a greater explanation is needed beyond the one provided by ALEKS and as a prompter for students to stay on-task.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
ALEKS has replaced the lecture and drill method for teaching math. The major change is that the selection of what areas to cover has passed from teacher to student. These high school students with learning disabilities have probably encountered several methods of teaching with little advancement. Having the student drive the math vehicle appears to rekindle a desire to try once again.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Not often, but I will require them to work at home on occasion, especially if it is known the student will be out for some time.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
At an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting, the parent is invited to review the reports generated. Additionally, when a student is sick and a parent calls for work, we always suggest a session at 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?
No, having a teacher present is vital to eliminate frustration.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
In Special Education, the grade is more often a reflection of effort, not a numerical assessment of success with the material.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
With some higher level students, the teacher will often require at least five topics be finished.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Most of the students have completed at least one course and as many as four courses in one school year. We also feel that a high percentage of the students have gained greater math skills. Students, even those who complain each session about doing the math, universally display pride when they complete a topic, a slice of the pie, and especially when they get the opportunity to email their teacher that they have conquered a new level.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
A bi-weekly review with students can have a positive outcome when the student can gauge progress, which may not be readily apparent from session to session.