View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Elliston School, Elliston School District 17
Grade(s): K - 8
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 30%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 0.5 hours per week, 26 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables)
Tressa Graveley, Teacher
I have used ALEKS over the past four years and find it extremely beneficial to students. I find that the students have more background knowledge and exposure to the concepts before we even get to them in the math book. When they come to me for math instruction, they are better prepared and are more successful in understanding a new concept being explored. Students are motivated to watch their progress throughout the completion of the concepts of their pie chart. I often hear students saying excitedly, "I did this on ALEKS!" Just by having the exposure, students have more confidence learning the concept in math instruction.
ALEKS provides detailed reports to help monitor progress of struggling students, as well as give students excelling in math the opportunity to challenge themselves with more advanced concepts that we don't get to during math instruction. ALEKS helps drive my instruction with a student-paced objective in mind. Students are more in control of their learning. They know when they have mastered a concept. They can feel the excitement and pride of accomplishing a goal. Students are also aware when they struggle with a concept. They can have the support they need to comfortably learn the concept without having to feel embarrassed from not knowing the answer in class during participation.
ALEKS helps me target the students according to our state standards. I feel the students are more well-rounded and prepared for the testing when I can focus on specific standards that need work instead of waiting until we get to that chapter in the book. ALEKS works very well for my multi-grade classroom. While I'm instructing a class, the other students work in ALEKS in preparation for instruction.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Before I started working with ALEKS, there were some difficulties with time management. During the times I would be teaching my three different math groups in the morning, the other students would have study hall time. ALEKS gave me a tool that I could use to boost concept areas in math. I feel that since ALEKS was added in the classroom, the students are more confident in learning math.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
1-2 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
I use ALEKS as a supplemental math program in the mornings while I am teaching my different math groups.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No. I encourage students to cover concepts that we are currently learning in the chapter of our math book, concepts they struggle with, concepts that we will be covering in the math book, or concepts that interest them.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I instruct fourth grade math first in the morning, while fifth and sixth graders work in ALEKS or their math assignment from the day before. When fifth graders have math instruction, fourth graders work on their assignment and sixth graders work in ALEKS or the previous day's math assignment. Finally, sixth graders have math instruction while fourth and fifth graders work either on their assignment or ALEKS.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I often have the students talk a little more about how they think they do a concept during math instruction if they have covered it in ALEKS. This way I can work with their knowledge base and build upon it through more of a student-based teaching model. I find the students are more engaged and feel a sense of ownership for the knowledge they are constructing.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students are encouraged to use ALEKS at home if they are struggling with math concepts or to meet their ALEKS time by the end of the week.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Because students have the opportunity to log into ALEKS at home, it does provide parents a way to help struggling students at home if they have the proper technology to access it.
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 not assigned as homework. There is time during the class day for them to finish ALEKS.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is not taken as a grade.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I encourage students to meet their weekly ALEKS time. If they show at least five percent learning progress per week, they can earn extra credit in math.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I have seen an improvement in student performance on state testing as well as preparation and background knowledge of skills during class participation in math instruction. I would say that the students have a sense of pride when completing topics in ALEKS. They will often tell me excitedly when they are half-way or almost done with their pie. They also like to watch the percentage of learning progress.