View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Trailridge Middle School, Shawnee Mission School District
Shawnee Mission, KS
Grade(s): 7 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Intervention, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students, ESL Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 25%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2 hours per week, 12 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables)
Heather Stajduhar, Teacher
I use ALEKS as part of a two hour fundamentals math course for English Language Learners (ELL) and students who score below the 50th percentile on their Kansas Assessments and Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests. As a teacher I love ALEKS because I have the opportunity to work one-on-one with students to individualize instruction during the second half of my block class while others who have mastered the day's lesson can work on skills they are struggling with in an individualized manner. ALEKS is aligned to our state standards and also has features that allow me to generate quizzes over skills I want students to have more practice on. Our district has analyzed the data gained from ALEKS and, statistically speaking, they have found that students who achieve 36 hours of time on ALEKS by the time our state testing comes around are typically able to meet standards on the state test.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Prior to using ALEKS, our school struggled to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in our ELL and Special Education subgroups.
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?
I implemented ALEKS during the second half of the block class as a supplement to instruction.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Yes, we follow the state and district standards for our curriculum and ALEKS is aligned to those.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I use ALEKS as a supplement. We learn the lesson for the day and focus on mastering that topic first, and then if students are ready to move on, we use ALEKS to reinforce the lessons, and to introduce new topics.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
As a result of ALEKS, I am able to analyze ALEKS data and use that information to guide instruction for reteaching or to identify areas of need.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Most of our students do not have a computer. I encourage staying after school to work, but it is not required. They earn a reward for hitting 36 hours by state test time.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We provide tutorials and information guides to parents at Back-to-School Night.
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 not part of their homework responsibilities.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I use the quizzes I create on ALEKS as part of the students grade which accounts for 15 percent.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I require students to work for 30 minutes or master three topics in a given class period and I check reports at the beginning and end of the period.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I have seen students excel on difficult standards by practicing them on ALEKS. I have found that ALEKS also gives me another piece of data to base my instruction on. I also like that some students who move through the program cover topics we have yet to learn in class and that means once we cover them in class, the idea is not new to them and it reinforces their learning. They feel a little bit of success. The majority of students enjoy seeing themselves progress through ALEKS. We have competitions to see who can add the most topics to their pie in a class period and they really like that.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I think that encouraging the use of the ALEKS features like the quizzes and content customization is very helpful. I also think that to keep students motivated, teachers should offer an incentive and make a game out of the progress.