View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
A.P. Giannini Middle School, San Francisco Unified School District
San Francisco, CA
Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Special Education, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 75%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 4 hours per week, 48 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), Essential Mathematics (with QuickTables), Middle School Math Course 2, Algebra Readiness, Pre-Algebra, High School Preparation for Algebra 1, California Algebra 1
Benjamin Ellsworth, Inclusion Special Education Teacher
I am currently co-teaching an ALEKS classroom that has a handful of at-risk students as well as a good amount of Special Education students. I am an Inclusion Special Education teacher, and most of my kids are mainstreamed into the general education classes. For this particular ALEKS class, there is such a variety of students who are at so many levels that it is imperative to have a program such as ALEKS tailored to each and every student's needs. The progress that each of the kids has shown has been unbelievable, and this is largely in part to the students being intrinsically motivated to show progress through their pies. For some of the severe students who still have trouble working independently we set up peer tutors for them. These tutors are students who will sit next to a particular struggling student and walk them through some of the steps that ALEKS provides in the explanations. The students love being able to help other classmates and are fully receptive to the tutoring, as it provides less stigma from an adult or paraprofessional constantly assisting them.
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?
Students go to the computer lab every period a day.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
My particular Special Education students have to work on a "do-now," which takes about five minutes, that is tailored to each of their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals. They have a minute or two to check email, and then they work on ALEKS for the remainder of the period.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I set aside that chunk of time for ALEKS on a daily basis.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
As much as possible. Parents are notified so they can reinforce this at home.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents are notified of their student's progress. They are also contacted if their student seems to be struggling or excelling.
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?
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes. If students are not making any progress, they are reassessed and bumped down a level or two.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I would say that every student has progressed in one way or another from using the program. Whether it be the social aspect of working in an entire class devoted to the ALEKS program, or simply the boost in their overall math skills, ALEKS has certainly been a blessing. The students are highly motivated to learn, and it gives them that multi-sensory type of learning that they may not get in their other classes. They feel like it is working, and if they feel this way, then they will continue to put effort into it.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
If you can set up a peer mentor day once or twice a week, it really keeps all of the students engaged and having fun.