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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Ephrata Middle School, Ephrata Area School District
Ephrata, PA

Grade(s): 7 - 8
Scenario: Computers in Classroom, Laptop Carts, Home Access
Purpose: Intervention, Supplement, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20-50%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2.5 hours per week, 40 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra

Jaime Ringler, Teacher
ALEKS is awesome. It takes students who struggled in our regular classroom setting and moves them forward. They experience success with ALEKS.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We had to drag some students through Algebra who were ill-equipped to take the course for a variety of reasons, whether behavior, repeated absence, or ability-level.

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?
30 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
I used the Initial Assessment data for each student to give them a goal to achieve either during the class period or for the week: either towards filling in their pie or understanding a concept the whole class is learning.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No. ALEKS does a good job determining what the kids are able to do and their current level. Sometimes I will suggest a particular topic that goes along with our regular curriculum if the students are able to understand it at that moment.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
The students who are struggling at the end of the year and who have to repeat Algebra the next school year are now using ALEKS to fill in gaps and be better prepared for Algebra.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I have extra levels of differentiation going on at one time, but it works well in the long run.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Whenever they don't meet our time goal or a certain progress goal.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I send letters home and communicate progress with parents via email. Seeing ALEKS for themselves usually helps a lot.


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?
Sometimes it is part of their homework.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I take the assessments and incorporate students' growth proportionally into the regular curriculum test scores. I also record the time students have worked in ALEKS as a participation/homework grade. I'll grade ALEKS quiz scores as regular quiz scores.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I set an appropriate goal depending on the students and their abilities.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
In a few weeks, some students have had a 200 percent improvement on assessments. They like ALEKS because it offers choices, meets them at their level, addresses the gaps that hold them back, and allows them to experience success.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
If you involve the students in setting their goals in ALEKS, they are really responsive.