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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Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School, West Hawaii Area Complex
Kamuela, HI

Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Laptop Carts, Home Access
Purpose: RtI, Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, After-School, Improve State Test Scores
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 25%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 5 hours per week, 45 hours per term
ALEKS Course: RtI 6, RtI 7, RtI 8, MS RtI Tier 3, Middle School Math Course 2, Middle School Math Course 3, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1

Eunice Lazarus, Teacher
ALEKS is an empowering tool for our students. School-wide implementation was easy and our students are responding to the individualization of the program. Most of our students willingly get on ALEKS, and with some planning, will work in the topics that are relevant to what we are currently studying. It is not unusual to have students remark that they worked certain problems in ALEKS when they see it presented in class. They use their understanding to help the class find alternate ways to represent the problem and its solution. In general, our scores have increased. More importantly to me is that students can now speak "math" with greater confidence. Lower achieving students are willing to ask for more explanation from me if they do not understand ALEKS' explanation fully. More students are willing to take risks, and have come to understand that it is through analyzing their errors that they become proficient. What was considered drudgery has become interesting as they see what they are learning in ALEKS applied in our classes. Students who are actively working in ALEKS are consistently looking at their progress and will share their improvements in percentage points with me as soon as an assessment or increase in learning is logged in ALEKS. They are proud of what they are learning. Students in the Response to Intervention (RtI) libraries work diligently because they want to move out of their remedial levels and into grade appropriate levels. This is exciting!


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
The majority of our students were below grade level, but not in the same areas. ALEKS' individualization has helped students fill personal gaps. It also enables students to work together to learn topics without teacher assistance! They're taking charge of their learning and loving it. My honors students are also challenging themselves, and wanting to ensure that they are solidly prepared for high school.

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?
30-45 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
Total school adoption. When we first implemented ALEKS, we had special workshop classes for targeted students. This year, we incorporated it into our classes which proved to be very challenging, and we also added it to afterschool tutoring. Next year, every child in the school will have a specific ALEKS workshop class that will meet 2-3 times per week for 75 minutes. We are excited that we will be providing more access time to ALEKS for all students.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
I require students to work through numbers and operations first in order to open other topics. Additionally, this practice is enhanced by our class curriculum.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Small group instruction, which has its challenges.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I didn't. ALEKS supplements what I do.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Three hours per week.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
The school holds a parent night, and reports with goals are sent home each quarter.


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?
Yes.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS learning progress is part of my formative assessment grade, worth 30 percent of the total grade. ALEKS assessment progress is part of my summative assessment grade for 70 percent of the total grade.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
This is still a work in progress.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
In general, our scores have increased. More importantly to me is that students can now speak "math" with greater confidence. Lower achieving students are willing to ask for more explanation from me if they do not understand ALEKS' explanation fully. More students are willing to take risks, and have come to understand that it is through analyzing their errors that they become proficient. What was considered drudgery has become interesting as they see what they are learning in ALEKS applied in our classes. Students who are actively working in ALEKS are consistently looking at their progress and will share their improvements in percentage points with me as soon as an assessment or increase in learning is logged in ALEKS. They are proud of what they are learning. Students in the RtI libraries work diligently because they want to move out of their remedial levels and into grade appropriate levels.