View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Thurgood Marshall Charter Middle School, Inner City Education Foundation Public Schools
Los Angeles, CA
Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Home Access, Computer Lab
Purpose: Intervention, Special Education, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 25%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 5 hours per week; 100 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Middle School Math Course 2, Middle School Math Course 3, Algebra 1
Peter Watts, Principal
My overall experience with ALEKS has been very positive. The students and parents alike enjoy the program because it's accessible not only at school but from home as well. I enjoy watching the students progress using ALEKS because our school made a commitment to ensure that our students would achieve high levels in math, and all of our eighth graders would be prepared to take the Algebra I state exam by the end of the year. We feel very confident that our students are ready and, looking at the data from the state results, I can say that we made some tremendous growth that was due in large part to using the ALEKS program.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Our math curriculum couldn't meet the needs of every student. We had classrooms with a ratio of 26:1 and the teacher could not effectively meet the needs of their students. We needed something that could identify a student's challenges and weaknesses, and help build those skills at their own level at their own pace.
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 part of our school day and used on a rotational basis with our math workshop classes. Students are expected to attend an ALEKS lab each day for a certain number of weeks.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
ALEKS is part of our workshop classes, which are our in-school intervention/enrichment classes. It happens Monday through Friday for one hour a day. We also use ALEKS as part of our Saturday school and afterschool intervention tutoring.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
Using technology in the classroom as a tool is effective. We are able to reach more students at their level, at their own pace. It is less intimidating when a student doesn't know how to do a problem and is able to work through it online or call a teacher over to help them one-on-one.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Teachers use ALEKS as an extra credit assignment. The students are responsible to log in at home so teachers can monitor their progress, completion rates, and online time to verify credit for the work that was done.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We share ALEKS with our parents by demonstrating how the program works at a parent information meeting. We also have parents volunteer in the lab to help students online with ALEKS.
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?
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is used as extra credit; it can only help the student, not penalize them.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students are responsible for logging in each day during workshop, and completing a topic each time they log on.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
The students are very encouraged by their progress. Our students who used ALEKS consistently in eighth grade saw growth of at least 10 points to their overall scores from the previous school year. As a school, 23 percent of our students scored Proficient/Advanced in Algebra I and two of our seventh grade students scored Advanced. This was a seven percent growth from last year when only 16 percent of our students scored Proficient/Advanced. The two students who took the Algebra test in seventh grade are now taking Geometry in eighth grade. Students in our special education population also did well; four out of eight students scored Proficient/Advanced in math this year.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
The biggest piece of advice I could give teachers is to make sure that you are consistent. No program can replace good teaching, but good teaching can enhance the program and technology in the classroom.