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Kashmere High School, Houston Independent School District
Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Exit Exam, Improve State Test Scores
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 90%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 4 hours per week, 375 hours per term
ALEKS Course: High School Preparation for Algebra 1
Megan Titus, Apollo 20 Math Fellow Coordinator
In November 2011, we implemented an ALEKS math lab and enrolled 42 students in the class in addition to their regular math classes. These students had either previously failed the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) or barely passed the test. The percentage of students in the ALEKS math lab who have passed the TAKS has increased from ten percent to 69 percent.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Kashmere High School is an Apollo 20 school, which is an urban education reform initiative. In previous years, our school had not met Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in math for any grade level.
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?
We use ALEKS in a computer lab. Students enrolled in the class have previously failed state assessments, so all students begin in High School Preparation for Algebra 1. After reaching a certain level of completion, they are then moved into Math Prep for TAKS E- HS Exit Exam.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, students may select the order.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students enter class and complete a warm-up problem that is on the board. They then fill in their ALEKS tracker to let the teacher know which topics they will cover that day. The students spend the majority of class (about 45 minutes) on ALEKS.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I don't have a regular teaching approach because the class is held in the computer lab.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students in our community rarely have Internet access at home, so participation at home is not required.
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?
A student's grade is based on 50 percent participation and 50 percent completion of topics. Students are required to complete 25 topics per week, which averages out to five per day. Their grade for the week is based off of their participation in class (answering questions, staying on-task, and completing warm-ups). Students lose five points off of their participation grade every time they are caught on other websites other than ALEKS.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are required to complete 25 topics per week, which makes up half of their grade for the class.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students enjoy ALEKS, and feel empowered by their ability to track their progress and have a visual that shows them how well they are doing in class. These students have also increased their state assessment scores by about seven percent, and the passing rate has increased from ten percent to 69 percent.