View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Smith Leadership Academy Charter Public School, Independent
Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computers in Classroom, Laptop Carts, Home Access
Purpose: RtI, Exit Exam, Improve State Test Scores, Core Curriculum
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2 hours per week, 20 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Middle School Math Course 3
Nilo Ashraf, Math Department Head
ALEKS has been a true asset to our math teachers and students. The in-depth reports are user-friendly and valuable tools for us. Our lessons are truly data-driven and differentiated because of ALEKS. After lessons are taught, ALEKS gives us the information needed to help students who have misconceptions and need more practice. The whole school is talking about pie charts and how much growth they have made. We have started using the students' pie charts in lessons about percent and proportions. We are so pleased with how receptive and motivated the students have been. They enjoy seeing their progress visually and like the fact that the explain button is like a built-in tutor! We are looking forward to using ALEKS next year and are developing an ALEKS Pie pin for students who complete their pie charts to wear on their scholar sweatshirts along with other academic and athletic pins. Thank you for developing such a comprehensive and easy program.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
It was difficult to track all students and determine their level of understanding. Students using ALEKS are allowed review to a point of mastery, not just exposure.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
4 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
ALEKS is used at a computer station in class and is assigned as a homework supplement. At least two hours of ALEKS must be completed weekly. The goal for students is to finish their pie charts or at least have 50 percent growth by the end of the school year.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
When using ALEKS in class, students are instructed to always check to see if they have answered questions about a relevant topic. If they have, they may choose any topic they desire.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students are able to use ALEKS at the computer station when they finish their practice work or to explore the day's lesson further.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I find out which students have and have not mastered a skill I plan to teach, then modify my lessons. I also research prerequisite skills to see who may need even more assistance.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students are encouraged to work in ALEKS at home on a regular basis. Students without computers or the Internet are encouraged to stay after school to work in ALEKS.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents are encouraged to monitor and check their student's progress. An informational and instructional seminar is given to parents at the beginning and middle of the school year.
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 a supplement to homework. Homework is assigned every night and students are expected to use ALEKS about 30 minutes for four nights a week, or whichever way they choose to fulfill their two hours.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is 20 percent of the grading system. Tests are 30 percent, quizzes are 20 percent, classwork is 15 percent, and homework is 15 percent.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students' progress is measured by their growth. They all have goal numbers. For students whose Initial Assessments were low, we encourage them to make a 50 percent growth. For any student who assessed above 50 percent, we ask them to complete their pie chart.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I observed that most students had assessed below 20 percent. This was very concerning and brought about many changes in how classes are taught and what review is necessary. We are grateful for the ongoing assessments, worksheets, and quizzes. Quiz and test scores have dramatically improved for students who consistently use ALEKS. Students are empowered by ALEKS. As I track students, I send them messages about how well they are doing. They also participate in class more. Some students even practice problems by looking ahead in their syllabus!
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Encourage students to use ALEKS on a regular basis. Assign certain parts so that you can tie to your lessons.