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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Lakota East Freshman Campus, Lakota Local School District
Liberty Township, OH

Grade(s): 9
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Special Education, At-Risk Students, ESL Students, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 50%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1-5 hours per week
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1

Christa Calcitrai, Teacher
What a great experience! Here at the Freshman School, the 50 lowest achieving math students are placed into two freshman math courses that incorporate ALEKS. We are using a "blended" approach, with students being in a normal classroom 40-50 percent of the time and in the lab for ALEKS the other portion. It has been wonderful! It aligns very well with our curriculum, and students who were otherwise not engaged have become engaged. We all love that the program is so individualized. This way, no time is wasted on material that is too easy or difficult for a student, and a student can experience growth and success. I notice increases in engagement, confidence, and skill. My students feel proud about their progress. What a great boost to math confidence!


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
It was more difficult to engage our lower achieving students. Working on the computer, doing individualized work, and seeing daily progress have been great incentives! Classroom management is also easier in this type of class since students aren't lost (material isn't too difficult) or bored (material isn't too easy).

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?
40 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
I continue to cover the same topics in freshman math, but I have cut out a lot of the "extra" worksheets to enable us to engage time in the lab.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, I allow the students to choose.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We are in the lab on Mondays and Wednesdays and in the general classroom the other three days.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
I usually encourage them to work outside of class if they are absent.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I send an email and a letter home to let the parents know about ALEKS. I also talk a lot about it at Curriculum Night, and I try to keep in contact with parents throughout the year via email or phone calls.


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?
No.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I count every assessment as 50 points. I look at the percent of info they already know and add that to the percent they've covered since the last assessment. Then I compare that to their quiz percentage. It ends up accounting for about 50 percent of their grade overall.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I haven't, but I am starting to see a little slacking here at the end of the year and will definitely do that for next year!


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I notice increases in engagement, confidence, and skill! My students feel so proud of their progress!


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I highly recommend the "blended" model (ALEKS some days and regular class other days). I think the students like structured diversity! I will also add that as long as students are doing what they are supposed to, we allow them to listen to headphones while working on ALEKS; this is another big incentive to keep them working hard.