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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Waynesboro Area Middle School, Waynesboro Area School District
Waynesboro, PA

Grade(s): 7 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Enrichment/Gifted and Talented
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 15%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week; 30 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Algebra 1, Algebra 2

Donna Wynkoop, Math Coach
We have had a great experience with ALEKS. The program consistently works; there is no down time for our students. Our expectations were met as far as ease of use, level of questioning, and student motivation.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We did not have a system in place for students who complete Algebra 1 by eighth grade. Algebra 1 is the highest course offered at our middle school. We had five advanced students for whom we had no place, and no teacher nor curriculum, available for independent study.

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?
40 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
ALEKS was used as a supplement to the Algebra 1 curriculum and as pre-course readiness for Algebra 2.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students reported to the computer lab for independent study on ALEKS, and could work together or independently. The gifted coordinator and math coach checked on students periodically to monitor their progress. This was a highly motivated group of students.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
We used ALEKS as an independent learning tool for the students. Individual questions were answered as students worked through the program. These students were not taught in a regular classroom setting.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
As often as they felt was necessary to prepare them for high school Algebra 2. This was a highly motivated independent study group.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents were notified of their children using ALEKS through a letter and parent conference. Parents understood the importance of preparing their children to excel, and appreciated the opportunity to advance their education.


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?
Grades for ALEKS were determined by individual progress within the program. As long as students were progressing at a good pace for them, they received an A for their work. The program was used to fill in a gap in our course sequencing.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes, students were to complete 75 percent of Algebra 2 by the time they went to the high school to take the course.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
The program was used on a small group of advanced students who completed Algebra 1 at the middle school, and were preparing for Algebra 2 at our high school during their eighth grade year. They walked to the high school for direct instruction. To increase students' comfort level with the material, they used the ALEKS program. They entered Algebra 2 over-prepared for the course. Our expectations for their learning on ALEKS were far exceeded. The students consistently out score their high school classmates on class assignments and are ranked highest in the class. The students feel good about their progress, especially since they have seen how well prepared they were for a block schedule and high school course work. They were confident using the program independently, and their confidence in the classroom was increased by their success on ALEKS.