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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Conestoga High School, Tredyffrin/Easttown School District
Berwyn, PA

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab, Home Access
Purpose: Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1.3 hours per week, 14-16 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1

Colleen McFadden, Teacher
It has been a positive and rewarding experience working with the ALEKS program. I use the program to supplement classroom instruction in Algebra 1. When introducing a concept, I often hear students say, "I did this in ALEKS." Students are more engaged and are becoming more independent learners and thinkers. Students are happy to see their pie fill up! It is great when students can contribute to the lesson and teach their peers how to solve a problem. The constant review and reinforcement of skills and concepts has allowed students to retain information more readily.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Students in the academic level math classes had difficulty working independently because they often had questions while working. In ALEKS, they can access the explanation immediately and are given additional practice as needed.

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?
ALEKS is part of our weekly routine.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students go to the computer lab two periods per week. In the lab, I circulate the room and direct students to particular areas in the program. I assign quizzes that relate to the content taught in the classroom. I allow students to take quizzes an unlimited number of times. I assign a test grade for their work in ALEKS that includes time spent in the program and scores on assigned quizzes. I may alter my grading next year and assess the number of topics mastered per week to provide additional incentive to stick with a tough topic.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
During lab time, I provide one-on-one tutoring to help students build skills that are weak.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students are required to complete at least 40 minutes per week at home. I give students regular reminders on time requirements so they do not get behind in their work.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
If parents have questions, they send me an email.


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 in addition to written homework. Students can choose to complete their work at any point in the week as long as they meet the minimum requirements. When there is no written homework, I make a point of reminding students to go on ALEKS.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is a major test grade. It is approximately 12-15 percent of the quarter grade.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I have not monitored amount of progress, but I plan to monitor amount of progress next year by tracking the number of topics mastered each week.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students are more engaged. They are becoming more independent learners and thinkers. Students are happy to see their pie fill up!


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Students need to be aware that you can track their progress and see how many topics are attempted and how many topics are mastered. If not, students may log on and simply surf the site without seriously attempting to learn the topics. I consistently check in with students and make recommendations on topics to attempt.