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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Ridge View High School, Richland School District Two
Columbia, SC

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Summer School
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1.5 hours per week

Dr. Ellie Muniz, Magnet Director
As a teacher and educational leader, I find ALEKS to be one of the most innovative software programs on the market today. The support and collaboration from ALEKS has been exceptional.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
As a lead teacher, I am in charge of placing students in the appropriate math level. Our students come to us with various gaps and deficiencies. It is a challenge for math teachers to personalize instruction to meet the needs of each student and at the same time cover the state standards. ALEKS provides that personalization for our students.

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?
45 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
I started by sending information about an orientation session to all the parents of incoming ninth graders. Many parents came to the orientation and enrolled their students in ALEKS for the summer month, where the objective was to get the students to do math during the summer. During the summer, I monitored the students' progress and wrote e-mails to the parents and students informing them about their progress. The ALEKS Message Center allowed me to communicate with the students. I enjoyed reading emails from my students.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
The summer ALEKS program was not structured. In August, I requested customizing the Algebra 1 course according to our syllabus. Seven classes are using the structured Algebra 1 course! Six other classes are using Algebra 1 as provided by ALEKS.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Most classes are 90 minutes long. The last 45 minutes are used for ALEKS.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Algebra 1 students must complete certain objectives using ALEKS at home or outside the math classes.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents are supportive and like the idea of monitoring their child's learning process. Some of them became quite fond of the pie chart.


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?
Most of ALEKS is done at school for those students taking low-level algebra. The more advanced students have assigned dates for completion of objectives. This counts as 20 percent of the total grade.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes. Students are required to meet a number of objectives for each unit covered in class. Teachers monitor the completion of those objectives.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students are more confident and have learned how to determine their modality for understanding math problems.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
ALEKS is a great program. It becomes exceptionally great when teachers monitor the progress of students by establishing communication through email. Students like to get messages of encouragement. This also gives them an opportunity to ask questions.