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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Euclid Middle School, Littleton Public Schools
Littleton, CO

Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Online School
Purpose: Intervention, Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, After-School, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 30%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1 hour per week; 9 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables)

Mary Kreeger, Teacher
The sixth grade Professional Learning Community (PLC) adopted ALEKS as both an intervention and enrichment strategy for students entering sixth grade. Initially we anticipated using ALEKS only as a supplemental program to help incoming sixth graders who came to us with skill levels that were beneath grade level expectations; however, over the past two years we have found that the adaptability of ALEKS has permitted us to design programs for all levels of students. This has enabled us to design programs for all of our sixth grade students whether they are low or high achievers. We put a heavy emphasis on ALEKS during the first semester and have been able to provide students with 60 minutes of lab time at school weekly and also have required an additional 30 minutes weekly outside of class. The results have been tremendously positive! Our students have made significant gains on district and state assessments because of the time that we have dedicated to ALEKS. We have also had excellent parental support because they witness the mathematical growth that their student has achieved.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Colorado is a "school choice" state, so even after the district aligned its curriculum between primary and secondary schools, our constant influx of out-of-district students has been challenging. Also, we typically found that each of the elementary feeder schools had slightly different expectations for their math programs and the math adoption at the elementary level was not "back to basics." Lots of students came to us without mastery level performance in multiplication or division.

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?
30 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
ALEKS is a separate grade within the math categories. We send letters home the first week of school and make it a part of our Back to School Night presentation, where we share with the parents our expectation that students will complete 30 minutes per week outside of class to meet their weekly goal.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
We do it by levels, beginning with LV 3. We really like this because so many kids are so successful in the beginning and it helps with the "buy in."

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We have 30 minutes of lab time at the beginning of two math classes two days per week. Students go to the lab with ALEKS recording sheets, which teachers sign off on as they complete slices of their pie.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
ALEKS has helped us reduce the amount of time that we were spending trying to teach individual skills to students who came to us without mastery of basic skills! It has, at the same time, permitted accelerated students to continue to find challenging material in addition to the regular curriculum.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
A minimum of 30 minutes each week outside of school.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We really talk up ALEKS in the beginning of the year. The fact that it is not optional helps us convince parents that it's a great intervention!


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 30 percent of their homework.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is 30 percent of the homework grade, and the homework grade is 25 percent of their math grade.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
We set quarterly goals and we have supplemental afterschool labs for students who do not meet their goals.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
We have witnessed significant growth in both our district-wide Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) scores, as well as the statewide assessment Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP). The gains in test scores have been made by students at all ability levels. We also make ALEKS grade level goals and students really strive to meet their quarterly goals. We have a wall mural designed in the front hall of the building where students are able to put stickers on posters that represent their completion of goals. Although the stickers are anonymous, the kids know where their own stickers are and love it!


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
We have found that starting at a lower level really gets the kids engaged (and successful) from the beginning. Having the afterschool sessions lets the kids and parents know that we take this seriously. Letting the kids see their growth on MAP scores is the final jewel in the crown!