View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic School, Catholic Diocese of Memphis
Grade(s): K - 8
Scenario: Home Access
Purpose: Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, After-School, Special Education, Improve State Test Scores
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 15%
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), Middle School Math Course 2, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1
Stephanie Jones, Teacher
Every one of my Advanced Algebra students placed out of high school Algebra 1 and into Honors Geometry at our local private and public schools. I attribute this directly to our incorporation of ALEKS. It has been a tremendous resource to help me provide my gifted students with the challenge they deserve and the support my at-risk students need.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Our students scored WELL above national average in all other areas, but were below or average in math. There was a testing disconnect that we felt we had to address.
How do you implement ALEKS?
I assign the chapter we are working on in class, including a chapter assessment, to be due prior to taking the chapter test. I give the students a percentage grade based on the ALEKS Reports.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
I use the Textbook Integration feature with Glencoe Algebra 1 (copyright 2010).
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I am unable to use ALEKS in my classroom due to technology limitations. I require the students to complete the chapter we are working on prior to taking the chapter test. I count it as a quiz grade.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I am able to work in the classroom on repetitive problems for retention and allow ALEKS to handle the application questions. I do not teach application per se. We do a lot of word problems as a class after they have mastered application skills in ALEKS. We use the application of the skill they learned in ALEKS in the classroom rather than my teaching it. I focus primarily on the objective of the lesson and the steps of the skill, and we do problem after problem with each other.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
I ask students to work in ALEKS for 15 minutes, four days a week.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I hold an ALEKS Town Hall meeting twice a year and regularly touch base with the parents via email from school.
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 part of the homework. It is in addition to the regular homework.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
My tests are 50 percent, my quizzes are 30 percent, and my homework is 20 percent. ALEKS counts as a quiz grade. It is really the only quiz grade I use, so it is basically a 30 percent component of my overall averages.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I assign chapter due dates and use the chapter assessments as the quiz grade.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Our Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) scores increased in math over the last five years with my incoming eighth grade students; the class on average tested with a 12+ Grade Equivalent. Like most hard work, students grumble at first but then feel wonderful after they have completed the requirements.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Using the Textbook Integration component has really transformed my ability to focus on the core skills of Algebra. My students prove to be very successful on high school entrance exams, and many place out of Algebra completely while the rest typically place into an Honors Math track in our local private schools. Creating and sustaining parental support is critical. I use regional math scores to prove the point that enriching the math curriculum is vital. I also use our standardized test scores to prove the point that the ALEKS program is beneficial.