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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Horizon School, Pewaukee School District
Pewaukee, WI

Grade(s): 4 - 6
Scenario: Computer Lab, One-to-One Laptop Program, Laptop Carts
Purpose: Core Curriculum
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 100%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 5 hours per week, 45-50 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, High School Geometry, Algebra 2 with Trigonometry

Troy Seyfert, Teacher
This is our first year using ALEKS with our Pre-Algebra students at the sixth grade level. Overall, my experience has been positive. I really enjoy being able to create Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) for all of my students. Also, ALEKS has been continually updated to meet the needs of the students and teachers.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
We found that in a traditional classroom certain students can become bored with the slower pace that the curriculum generally dictates.

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?
65 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
It was researched and implemented at the beginning of the school year.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Yes. In the beginning of the year we have the students focus on Whole Numbers and Integers, Rational Numbers, and Proportion, Percent, Data, and Probability. After those are completed, students can then begin to focus on topics of interest.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Generally the students log into ALEKS right away. This gives them a jump start before we interrupt with other tasks. We conference with the students once every seven school days using a form we created. The students update their own forms from school and home. Additionally, we have teaching seminars four days a week. These are conducted using data from ALEKS to see the concepts that are of highest need. Also, we build in a "math chat" where student are free to walk around the room and assist each other. We also use the quiz feature about once a week, and once every quarter we have all students participate in a week long project that relates to real world math applications.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I now need to be ready to teach any concept on the pie. They might range from whole numbers and integers to a variety of Geometry topics.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They are not required to work in ALEKS at home unless they don't seem to be meeting their weekly goals. However, over long vacations we do set a number of minutes they must be on ALEKS.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We keep the parents updated of any changes we make. We also survey the parents throughout the year to get their thoughts on the program.


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?
ALEKS is not assigned as homework.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
This year it was broken down by quarter. The students are responsible to complete 25 percent of the course each quarter.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
We set goals depending on their pace and level of understanding. But the long term goal of each student, at the very least, is to complete the Pre-Algebra course by the end of the year. During our conferences with students, we examine their ILPs and look at the past week's goal.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
We have seen tremendous growth for the majority of our students who are using ALEKS. As a district, we use Measure of Academic Progress (MAPs) as one of our standardized benchmarks. Students' scores have been a positive indicator that ALEKS is helping them progress through the math curriculum at a comfortable, yet challenging pace. The majority of students have given positive feedback about their experience with ALEKS. They really enjoy working at their own pace, first and foremost. Also, they appreciate the fact that they can work at home without hauling a textbook back and forth.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Conference at least once every seven school days, otherwise you lose touch with students' progress. Give them a break at least once a quarter to create something hands on. Use the data within the ALEKS program to set up your teaching seminars.