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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Oak Hill Junior High School, Oak Hill United School Corporation
Converse, IN

Grade(s): 7 - 8
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
Purpose: Intervention, Core Curriculum
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 90%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2 hours per week, 18-20 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Essential Mathematics (with QuickTables), MS RtI Tier 3, Middle School Math Course 2, Pre-Algebra

Kara Guiff, Teacher
I am using ALEKS with my junior high, special needs math students. I have students working on essential skills and Pre-Algebra. I love that the artificial intelligence in ALEKS ensures everyone is working on the topics they need to practice. Some days I teach a new skill to the whole group and send them to practice in ALEKS, letting them know which topics to choose. Then, the next day those topics will appear in their Review area in ALEKS and they get to practice them again. On other days, I print individualized lists of topics each student needs to practice by using the reports. I know that my students are engaged in learning for a better portion of their work time than when I had to monitor everyone on my own without ALEKS. Bottom line, ALEKS makes me a better teacher and my students better learners!


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
I struggled to individualize instruction for students working at so many grade levels in my resource class.

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
3-5 days per week.

What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
30-40 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
I utilize ALEKS as the main curriculum for my special needs students, and I supplement with other materials.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
I cover topics in order of need and try to stay in order of the general education curriculum.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
On alternating days, my students are on ALEKS for a whole class period practicing, reviewing, and using QuickTables; other days, we do a mini lesson, then practice in ALEKS. I also print worksheets and quizzes utilizing the program. I even have my students take final exams in ALEKS. We practice the whole week leading up to finals so there are no surprises when it's time to take the test. With the click of a button, ALEKS sends each student a new quiz covering the same concepts but with different questions. I love that!

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I spend more one-on-one time with students to cover skills they are struggling with, as ALEKS monitors the other students.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students are encouraged daily, but rarely do they get on at home.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I share results at parent conferences, which impresses parents and helps them understand how helpful it is to their students.


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?
I only assign ALEKS worksheets for homework two times per week.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I give a weekly participation grade for computer time, and take grades for paper homework assignments.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I do not require certain amounts of progress. However, we set goals based on current percent mastery.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I have seen students progress more in one year with ALEKS than with any other program I have utilized in my 20 years of teaching. I know students are mastering skills needed to prepare them for general education, and they know it too! My students love watching their pie charts fill up throughout the year. The visual representation of their learning is very motivating. They may not always be motivated to work in ALEKS, but they know they are learning and that has a positive effect on the self-esteem of struggling students.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
It pays to take the time to attend an ALEKS training to become more familiar with all the features. It is difficult to find time on your own to figure everything out. I know teachers in our organization who haven't had formal training aren't utilizing the program as much.