View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Rotan Jr. High School, Rotan Independent School District
Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: One-to-One Laptop Program, Computers in Classroom, Home Access
Purpose: RtI, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 40%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2-2.5 hours per week, 36 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Middle School Math Course 2, Middle School Math Course 3, Algebra 1
Carol Ann Price, Teacher
ALEKS allows my 6th grade students to realize success. They are always excited when their percentages in the pie have increased. I have an English as a Second Language (ESL) student who has benefited immensely from the Spanish feature in ALEKS. There are many other computer-based practice websites, but ALEKS is the only one that allows the students to have individual assessments for their personal level. ALEKS is user friendly for the students and the teacher, and we have had a significant increase in the passing percentages on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test over the last three years. I would recommend ALEKS as a supplement to any math curriculum.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Our school was struggling to find something that would help enhance the curriculum we already had in place. There are specific objectives to be met on the TAKS test, and ALEKS has helped the students practice and master these objectives.
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?
How do you implement ALEKS?
We first implemented ALEKS in the junior high and because the students were successful, we then implemented it at the elementary school. I use ALEKS as a supplement to my regular curriculum and as a practice for the TAKS test that is required in our state.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
I feel it is best to let the students progress as ALEKS has set up for them. This seems to be working best for them.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I introduce the current lesson and the students practice that skill. After they have mastered the new skill, they are able to work on ALEKS and practice. This has been especially helpful to the gifted and talented students and others that work quickly.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I was able to implement more technology into my classroom which I feel is a must for our students in today's world. I feel it allows my students to be more independent thinkers and learners.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
I encourage them to work on ALEKS at home every chance they get and especially in the summer if they have a computer available. I have also offered them the opportunity to work after school if they want.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
At the beginning of the year I send a note home with the students about the website and how to use it. When we have open house at school, I introduce ALEKS to the parents and encourage them to use it at home.
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?
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Students have the choice to use ALEKS as extra points on their grade. If they increase by five percent I will give them an extra 100 points.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I do not punish them if they do not make regular amounts of progress, but I do reward them when they do.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I have seen my sixth grade students grow in their basic skills after participating in the ALEKS program. They are eager to get on the computer and work on ALEKS, and they will work until the computers run out of battery power. They are excited to see the increase in percentages each time their pie becomes available after an assessment. We have had a significant increase in the passing percentages on the TAKS test over the last three years. I have gifted and talented students and students that work quickly who have finished the sixth grade material and started seventh grade. ALEKS has also been a great tool for summer school students to go back and review skills they are missing.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I feel ALEKS needs to be a fun activity. A reward system seems to help the students look forward to working on ALEKS as often as they can.