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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Wilders Preparatory Academy Charter School, Private
Inglewood, CA

Grade(s): K - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Home Access
Purpose: RtI, Improve State Test Scores, Core Curriculum, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 5-20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1-2 hours per week; 20 hours per term
ALEKS Course: RtI 7, RtI 8, Middle School Math Course 2, Middle School Math Course 3, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, California Algebra 1, High School Geometry

Neeraj Satyal, Teacher
At my school, we wanted to improve academic achievement and streamline student progress in mathematics. We researched many different options, and the school then purchased an ALEKS subscription for every student in the school. ALEKS uses flexible and easy to use answer input tools that mimic what would be done with paper and pencil. After a brief assessment, ALEKS then diagnoses what students know and need to know in order to master a given course. Each student, and therefore each set of assessment questions, is unique. Students are permitted to use the program at home and can progress at their own pace. The use of ALEKS is significant because student progress can be tracked in real time. As a teacher, this helps me stay informed of student learning and understanding of topics. Students use the program one to two times a week in their computer class for roughly 30-45 minutes. ALEKS pinpoints exact gaps in student understanding and identifies every skill a student must know in order to master a class.

The implementation of ALEKS has impacted student learning in many important ways. For one, it has given me an opportunity to track student progress. When looking at the reports, I see how students are progressing. If I see several students stuck on a given standard that has already been taught, I can take that information and use it for an opportunity to re-teach. For example, when students were going over methods of solving systems of equations, I felt like they were doing fine in class. However, a few weeks later I noticed none of the students had mastered any of the ways to solve systems of equations in ALEKS. I asked the students, and many indicated they were still shaky on the topic so we reviewed systems of equations. A couple of days later, I found at least eight kids had mastered systems of equations in ALEKS. It also gives students a chance to become self-sufficient learners. Additionally, many students have been so motivated by the incentive of a grade bump that they have taken it on themselves to learn certain standards that have not yet been covered in class. As a result, when the standard is covered in class, the student already has a strong working understanding, and sometimes even, mastery of the standard. They, in turn, take this knowledge and are able to help their peers.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
It was a challenge getting the intervention students motivated to work hard, and have them do math that is at their level.

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
2 days per week.

What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
30-40 minutes.


Implementation

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
ALEKS is used in the computer/technology class. It is also used after school.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I did not have to do significant modifications.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
As often as possible. Students are encouraged to use ALEKS as a supplement to what they do at home.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We let parents know about the program and explain the extra credit incentive that is involved if students use ALEKS.


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. Students need to complete 40 hours in ALEKS by the end of the year.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
20 percent of students' final grade is based on how many hours they work in ALEKS. They need to complete 40 hours. For example, a student who 30 hours receives .75 or 15 percent of the total 20 percent available.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes, I give students parameters. For example, during Spring break students are required to complete six hours. During Winter break, they are required to complete eight.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students have responded well. They are very positive towards ALEKS. They like the fact it helps boost their grade and it proves to be quite engaging. When students finish an ALEKS course, they are awarded a one-grade bump in their overall grade. Many students have been so motivated by the incentive of a grade bump that they have taken it upon themselves to learn certain standards that have not yet been covered in class. As a result, when the standard is covered in class, the student already has a strong understanding, and sometimes even mastery, of the standard. They take this knowledge and are able to help their peers. They can also demonstrate understanding of more abstract problems that are beyond the standards. One student said, "I like learning in ALEKS because I can go at my own pace." Another said, "it helps me get ahead." One student started in the seventh grade course; he not only finished it, but also finished Algebra I. He is currently taking the ALEKS Geometry course.