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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Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School, Hawaii Department of Education
Kamuela, HI

Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computers in Classroom, Laptop Carts
Purpose: RtI, Intervention, At-Risk Students, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20-25%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week; 30 hours per term
ALEKS Course: RtI 7, RtI 8, MS RtI Tier 3, Middle School Math Course 2, Pre-Algebra

Tisha Gusman, Teacher
ALEKS is a very useful and helpful tool that helps students at all levels in math. Students at the lower level, in tier 3 of RtI, are able to work on areas that they struggle in with the ability to get help through the explain feature. Students in the middle school courses are able to work on grade-level benchmarks, as well as next year's benchmarks. ALEKS provides opportunities for students to review, practice, and be challenged all in the same library.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Students were 3-4 years behind in math. Not all students had mastered their basic facts.

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
3 days per week.

What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
60 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
In the first year of implementation, students had a separate math workshop class in which ALEKS was used. This year, ALEKS is being used in conjunction with the regular math curriculum.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
It depends on what topics we are working on in regular math class.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We are required to teach our regular math curriculum and incorporate ALEKS. Given a 90-minute period, this is not always easy. Some days, half of the period is devoted to each. It is a challenge to get both areas of math to have equal time.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I use the Learning Objectives to have students focus on topics we have or will be covering in regular math.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students are encouraged to work in ALEKS daily at home. Ideally, we would like for them to use ALEKS three hours per week.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
The math department hosted an ALEKS night where we showed parents what ALEKS is, had them create a trial account, and check their child's 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?
ALEKS is part of their homework.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
My grading is cumulative. This quarter, I am requiring students to make a 20 percent gain; so the possible points would be 20. Next quarter, the percent will change to 25 percent growth.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are expected to make a percentage of growth per quarter.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students that have consistently worked have increased their ALEKS scores. Students are working on benchmark topics that we have learned in class. They are also working on upcoming benchmark items and will be familiar with them when they are taught. Students, in general, feel good when they are successful. Often, "this is easy" can be heard coming from the students.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Using ALEKS is more effective if it is the only thing students are working on during the period. If you have to also teach the regular math curriculum from a textbook, it becomes challenging to balance both.