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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Upland High School, Upland Unified School District
Upland, CA

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computers in Classroom, Home Access
Purpose: Intervention, Exit Exam
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 90%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 10 hours per week
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, High School Geometry, Algebra 2

Dr. Gail Nash, Teacher
This is my second year implementing ALEKS as a support program for 9-12 Independent Study students. The parents and students have found this program to be one of the best they have seen, as ALEKS explains the various concepts and continuously assesses for mastery. I have used the Math Prep for the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) product for students each semester. The students take previous CAHSEE tests and we use this to identify areas of need. We then assess CAHSEE scores through ALEKS and discuss areas students will need to address. Each week, we look at their pies and print out areas they have mastered and areas they need to work on. I require four worksheets each week, and the students and I review the worksheets and discuss errors. I keep an ALEKS chart posted with the percent of the course mastered. I have a separate chart for each area: CAHSEE, Algebra 1, etc. Subsequently, I have had parents request to use ALEKS with their younger children at home.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Students could not receive help at home.

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?
N/A


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
ALEKS is used for to prepare for the math portion of the CAHSEE. Additionally, I use ALEKS for all students enrolled in math.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Except for the CAHSEE course, students select which topics to work on and ALEKS guides them.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Student use ALEKS for independent study. We review ALEKS during weekly appointments.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
We use the pie to review strengths and weaknesses.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Daily.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I explain ALEKS during each semester meeting and contact parents via phone to discuss progress.


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?
Yes, it is used for weekly assignments for independent study.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Work completed on worksheets accounts for 25 percent of a student's grade and 75 percent is for skills acquired.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I require weekly assessments, but I need to work on this requirement. Students are issued credit only when they complete a certain percentage of skill areas, and this is an incentive.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
My students understand the standards addressed and realize there must be mastery before their pie is complete. They are thrilled when they see the pie complete in various sections. I have also observed something very interesting. Some students will not take an assessment if they feel they have not mastered a skill because they know this will lower their percentage mastered on their pie. They then review before taking the test.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Reviewing the worksheets together is a plus. Working on ALEKS in the Independent Study room is also helpful. Next semester I will require this two days a week.