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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The Nueva School, Private
Hillsborough, CA

Grade(s): K - 8
Scenario: Laptop Carts, Home Access
Purpose: Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, After-School, Core Curriculum, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 10%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), QuickTables, Middle School Math Course 2, Middle School Math Course 3, Pre-Algebra

Jennifer Rising, Mathematics Specialist
We use ALEKS as a differentiation tool for grades 3-8. Since students are working at their own levels, they can work independently or as a whole class, yet everyone is getting targeted time on their skill development. ALEKS also makes an excellent homework tool because the data we receive is excellent. It has been so rewarding because as I introduce a new topic, almost every time one of my students will say, "I remember seeing that in ALEKS!" That student is then able to explain the concept and demonstrate how to solve the problems. Clearly, these students are retaining everything they have learned in ALEKS and are able to communicate their understanding with others. Most students really enjoy ALEKS because they can progress at their own speed and not feel belittled if they are working at a different level than their classmates. Parents also enjoy it because their children can spend extra time on math at home, even when they don't have homework.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Each class has such a wide range of skills, and we needed to improve our ability to differentiate. It can be a challenge helping the most advanced students to progress while also helping the strugglers, but ALEKS makes that simple to do. ALEKS is also a great tool for those early finishers who have nothing else to do.

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?
10 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
We bought an account for each student and had the Technology Department set up the carts. The classes worked together to help students through the Initial Assessment. After that, students have worked independently on it. Now we use ALEKS as work that can be done when other tasks are finished. It is also a weekly homework assignment to spend at least 30 minutes on ALEKS, although some students spend much more.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, for the most part we allow students to choose what topics to work on. If we are concentrating on a specific strand, we might recommend that they work on those topics, but it is not assigned.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students know that when they finish early they can take a laptop off the cart and work in ALEKS. It eliminates those constant interruptions and keeps everyone working at their own level.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I don't think I have modified my approach; instead, I use it as an extra tool.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They need to complete at least 30 minutes per week on ALEKS at home. Many students do much more.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Because we are in Silicon Valley, we don't normally have any parental problems with computers!


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?
It is a separate part of their homework assignment, and is worth roughly 20 percent.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
We do not use a grading system here.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
We expect students to make progress. However, since each student varies in the speed that they go, we take that into consideration.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
It has been so rewarding because as I introduce a new topic, almost every time one of my students will say, "I remember seeing that in ALEKS!" That student is then able to explain the concept and demonstrate how to solve the problems. Clearly, these students are retaining everything they have learned in ALEKS and are able to communicate their understanding with others. Most students really enjoy ALEKS because they can progress at their own speed and not feel belittled if they are working at a different level than their classmates. Parents also enjoy it because their children can spend extra time on math at home, even when they don't have homework.