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Travis Ranch School, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District
Yorba Linda, CA
Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Computers in Classroom, Home Access
Purpose: Intervention, Supplement, Special Education
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1 hour per week, 12 hours per term
Suzanne Borgese, Special Education Teacher
I find ALEKS to be the perfect tool to work with students who have special needs for several reasons: First of all, the fact that it is a web-based program with artificial intelligence facilitates differentiation, individual tracking, feedback and portability. Next, my previous experience using ALEKS yielded total class engagement, even for students who had attention issues. There is tremendous student buy-in when they can use an interactive computer program. Last, it lends to bell-to-bell learning by providing a tutorial activity for those who complete desk work early, in addition to the capability of accessing the program form home. I look forward to using this program with my students during the next school year.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
It is always a challenge to differentiate instruction for students within a class that has different levels of ability. Add to the mix their special needs, and challenges are even greater.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
1 day per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
As a supplemental tutor and reinforcement tool.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Students determine their relative weaknesses and strengths with the pre-test; they then progress at their own pace according to the pie charts.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Our students are released early on Wednesdays, which shortens our math time. Every Wednesday, students use ALEKS with my supervision. In addition, they may use it during class if classwork is completed; they can also use it at home.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I simply incorporated ALEKS into my curriculum because it is aligned with California standards.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Twice or more a week.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents love it because it is user-friendly. Generally, by middle school, some parents are intimidated by Pre-Algebra. The tutorials in ALEKS prove to be very helpful.
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?
ALEKS is not assigned as homework because not all students have home computer access.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I do not incorporate ALEKS into my grading system.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
After using ALEKS for a year, my students with special needs increased their average basic skills scores from 30 to 65 percent at the end of the school year. The students responded very positively to the ability to track their progress, strengths, and weaknesses visually with the individual pie charts provided by the program.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Students should be monitored for engagement and understanding.