View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Charlotte Wood Middle School, San Ramon Valley Unified School District
Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, One-to-One Laptop Program, Home Access
Purpose: Intervention, Credit Recovery, At-Risk Students, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week, 36 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Algebra 1
Jenny Torres, Math Department Chair
ALEKS is an essential tool in our school. I use ALEKS in my classroom as an intervention for students that are below grade level or in danger of failing. I take classes weekly to the computer lab to work on ALEKS. ALEKS is also the only outside tutoring that I recommend to parents. No other program assesses students at their individual levels and starts them on a plan for improvement. It is completely individualized to their needs and is able to recognize and fill in gaps unlike anything else I've seen. My students actually enjoy using ALEKS and watching their pie grow. The Time and Topic Report makes ALEKS a great tool for parents and teachers as well. The fact that you are able to work at your own pace is so valuable. Some students may need remediation, while others are working along with their textbook or even working on topics above their grade level. I am fully confident in pledging my support for the ALEKS program to anyone who is interested in working on their math skills.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We struggled with motivating students and meeting the needs of all students at their own individual levels.
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?
How do you implement ALEKS?
ALEKS is used to fill in the gaps that students have in their basic skills, which are essential to learning Algebra. Then, the students work through the Algebra content along with our text.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, each student starts at their own level based on their Initial Assessment.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Last year, the students worked on ALEKS in the computer lab one day per week for the whole period. On the other days, I worked with half of the class on a lesson, while the other half used the mobile lab to work on ALEKS; halfway through the period, we switched.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
Using ALEKS allows me to work with small groups at a time rather than with the whole class. It also allows me to see which topics most of my students have done well on and which ones need review. I am able to do mini-lessons that fit their needs. I am much more confident that I know each of the students' strengths and weaknesses and am better able to address them.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They are assigned 20 minutes of Friday homework on ALEKS.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
My students raise money to purchase each subscription. The parents are involved in seeing the students' progress in their pies and watching them work 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?
It is 20 percent of their homework.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
One day of homework per week is dedicated to ALEKS. I'd say it is about five percent of their homework grade.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Using the Time and Topic Report, students have to show that they are mastering at least two concepts per week.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
My students enjoy using ALEKS. They want to complete more sections to fill in their pies. They are more willing to read through the tutorials and practice topics toward mastery. They get excited when they get to take another assessment. Students have been able to show significant growth on the topics that they are working on, and those who had given up or were failing the class are able to show mastery at their own levels.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I found that splitting the class works well for me. Working with a small group while others work on ALEKS allows me to give each student individual attention.