ALEKS - Assessment and Learning

Implementation Strategies

View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes. 

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Nex+Gen Academy, Albuquerque Public Schools
Albuquerque, NM

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: One-to-One Laptop Program
Purpose: Intervention, Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, After-School, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 5-10%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2 hours per week
ALEKS Course: Algebra 1, High School Geometry, Algebra 2

Paul Losinski, Teacher
ALEKS has been implemented as a platform from which differentiation, remediation, and advancement can be more easily achieved. The program helps to reinforce the concept that content mastery is necessary in order to progress through a course. Students find the interface easy to navigate and, after experimenting with another product, nearly unanimously agree that ALEKS is the superior interface. As a teacher, I love that the program allows students to access only those topics for which they are ready. Additionally, the fact that ALEKS provides an explanation for EVERY problem is an impressive attribute. I am able to utilize ALEKS for basic skills practice, and am impressed with four of my students who are able to advance through the Algebra 1 curriculum at their own pace and have begun work in the next level of their mathematical instruction.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
As a small school, we have students ranging in skill levels from four years behind grade level to those who are two years ahead of grade level. ALEKS allows us to address the educational needs for all of our students.

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?
5-55 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
Our students have laptops assigned to them, so I encourage them to access ALEKS every day. Students are allowed to work on ALEKS on any day where they complete their work ahead of schedule, and are also provided the entire period to work on ALEKS every Friday.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No. This year I utilized ALEKS in a way that allows students to progress at their own pace. I am looking forward to mastering the interface so that I will be able to create class assessments and learning modules for my curriculum.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
ALEKS progress is included as part of my students' grades. They have access to ALEKS 24/7 and are encouraged to work in ALEKS during any class period in which they have time remaining after their regular work is finished. Additionally, I dedicate one day each week solely to ALEKS.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I am brand new to this interface and, as a result, spend the majority of my time learning the interface, features, and the most effective method of getting students to work on ALEKS.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
I only provide 55 minutes of guaranteed ALEKS access during school hours each week. However, as part of my syllabus, I recommend students spend 30 minutes every night for six nights a week in ALEKS.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I hold a parent meeting twice a year, hold student conferences twice a year, and hold parent-teacher conferences as required. In all of these cases, the importance of using ALEKS on a regular basis is discussed and the impact of using ALEKS on their student's grades is also discussed.


Grading

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?
ALEKS is assigned as only part of their homework responsibilities. In my class, ALEKS accounts for approximately ten percent of a student's grade.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is integrated into the homework portion of my students' grades, which accounts for approximately ten percent.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
My students are required to master six topics every week. If they can master six topics in less than three hours, they do not have to put in the recommended time. Additionally, if student progress "slips" after an assessment, they must make up those lost topics before the newly mastered topics can be counted for that week.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Although my students are often frustrated with their "backward" progress after some of the assessments, they have finally begun to realize the necessity of MASTERING the content in order to be successful in future topic areas. Additionally, those students who find themselves a bit bored with the regular course curriculum enjoy the opportunity to challenge their skills by accelerating through the required topics and then being rewarded with the opportunity to attempt the next level of math instruction. The most exciting outcome I have witnessed this year is the four students who successfully completed the Algebra 1 curriculum early. Three of the students have proceeded into High School Geometry, while the fourth student has chosen to attempt Algebra 2.