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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San Jose State University Upward Bound Program
San Jose, CA

Grade(s): 9 - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Intervention, Summer School
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 75%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 15 hours per week, 90 hours per term
ALEKS Course: High School Geometry

Tom Reisz, Early Assessment Program Coordinator
Student learning this summer has exceeded student learning in previous non-ALEKS summers. I documented 39 percent growth in students who earned an 80 percent or higher this year over last. In future summers, I hope to use ALEKS for additional courses. In all, I think ALEKS has been a very positive experience.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Many of my students enter my ALEKS-based class after repeatedly failing Geometry.

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?
180 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
Students meet for five hours per day, six days per week. The first two hours consist of differentiated instruction in the classroom based upon ALEKS performance. Students then move to the lab for three hours, with breaks, to work on ALEKS. A teacher and two tutors are available during this time. Students have the option of spending between one and three additional hours in the computer lab in the late afternoon and evening. In addition, they are given ALEKS-generated worksheets as homework twice per week.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
We paired ALEKS with a Geometry textbook so the topics are made available in the textbook's regular chapter sequence.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Our class offers differentiated classroom instruction, followed by lengthier computer lab sessions. ALEKS makes up about 75 percent of the instructional time.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
ALEKS helps me provide more effective differentiated instruction during classroom hours, in addition to targeted mini-lectures during lab hours.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
ALEKS makes up most of the students' homework assignments.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
ALEKS sends a progress report to each student's parents every Friday.


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 makes up most of the students' homework assignments. In addition, students are assigned to present to the rest of the class one cognitively complex non-ALEKS problem before the end of the course.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Grading consists of ALEKS curriculum completion which counts for 40 percent,   ALEKS-generated chapter tests which count for 25 percent, ALEKS-generated worksheets (homework) which count for ten percent, a non-ALEKS class presentation which counts for five percent, and an ALEKS comprehensive test (final exam) which counts for 20 percent.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are required to complete the topics associated with two textbook chapters per week, which translates to approximately one chapter every 12 instructional days during a regular school year. The number of topics varies significantly from week to week since the number of topics associated with each chapter is not consistent from week to week.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Last year, using a non-ALEKS curriculum, 48 percent of students earned grades of 80 percent or better during the summer intensive Geometry class. This year 87 percent earned grades of 80 percent or better. Last year, the skills gain as measured by the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project was 25 percent; this year it was 38 percent.