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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Maranacook Community Middle School, Maranacook Regional School Unit 38
Readfield, ME

Grade(s): 6 - 7
Scenario: One-to-One Laptop Program
Purpose: Intervention, RtI
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: Varies
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2-3 hours per week; 35 hours per term
ALEKS Course: RtI 6

Cathy Hayden, Teacher
I began using ALEKS with students who were identified as needing tier 2 support based on the percentile they scored on the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). I have found students more engaged in their learning than they were previously. I had 11 students and tried to gear my interventions to meet their needs, but this was very difficult since they didn't all need exactly the same interventions. Once I started using ALEKS it became easier to work with individuals because, after they took the Initial Assessment, they began working only on what they needed to do. Now I can help each student when they need extra explanations. I have found, however, that if they read the explanation ALEKS gives them, they don't need my help as much. I have given one assessment so far, and all but one student made some gains after just five classes using ALEKS. Our periods are 63 minutes long and students work for about 45 minutes on ALEKS, and then I give them some additional work. I have used QuickTables and the students seem to enjoy it. I really like that I can monitor student progress during the class and can assign worksheets and assessments as I see fit. I think ALEKS is really helping my students improve their math skills.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We didn't really have a good vehicle for monitoring student progress. We only give the NEWA once or twice a year. We had several teachers doing interventions with students that had similar scores on the NWEA, but didn't necessarily have the same needs.

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?
50-60 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
Once we identified students, we just began using the program.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Yes, I do. I start with Whole Numbers, then Fractions, Decimals, Geometry, Measurement & Graphs, Proportions, Percents, Probability, and Algebra.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
My students come into the room and immediately log on to ALEKS. They start where they left off last class. I might have QuickTables for them to do, or an assessment. If so, they do that first. They work on their own using paper and pencil unless there is a specific question they don't understand, at which time I step in to explain it. I go back to the explanation in ALEKS and go over that to try to help the student understand it. After about 50 minutes, I let them stop and I might have a worksheet or some fun problem for them to work on for the last 10-15 minutes.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I have just given more practice with facts and operations.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
At this point we have not required the students to work at home.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We have just recently sent home information for parents about what their student is doing.


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?
No.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Since the students are in tier 2 intervention, we do not believe they should be graded as such. We send home information about student progress, but do give them numerical grades. It is a tier 2 intervention, and as such, is separate from the student's regular math class.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Since I can monitor how my students are doing and the amount of work they do, as well as any difficulties they are having, I just require them to be working the whole period.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I have seen more engagement, and there has been progress for all students on some level. The students in my group feel very good about their progress. I hear them speaking out frequently about how well they have done on a specific assignment. I have several of these students in my regular math class as well, and I believe the positive feelings they have from using ALEKS are spilling over into the class. They get more work done and try harder on things that have stumped them because they are more confident than before.