View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Quilcene Elementary School, Quilcene School District #48
Grade(s): K - 12
Scenario: Computer Lab
Purpose: Special Education, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1.5 hours per week, 6 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Mathematics - LV 3 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 4 (with QuickTables), Mathematics - LV 5 (with QuickTables), Middle School Math Course 3
James Hodgson, Teacher
My experience with ALEKS has been very positive. It has been a motivational tool for students in all categories. For example, low achievers, under achievers, competitive learners, and students who want to excel have all benefitted from the individualized instruction. I especially like the games for teaching kids basic math facts. ALEKS has also been a great way to test and validate the curriculum of our textbook, and the reports quickly let you know how each student is doing based on state standards.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Knowledge of basic math facts kept most students slow and unsure of themselves. ALEKS has improved this and made all more confident in their ability to solve problems.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
2 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
I allow students to go where they want in the pie. Testing is performed once a month and I can track the students very easily on the amount of time they are spending on ALEKS as well as their individual progress.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
I use my text sequentially but allow my students to use the ALEKS pie any way they want.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Twice a week we spend 30-45 minutes of our 55-minute class on ALEKS.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I am able to spend less time on math facts and multiplication tables and focus my efforts more on the Geometry and Pre-Algebra.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
I encourage it often, but especially during grading periods (six times per year).
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I show parents the reporting features of ALEKS and how their children are doing in comparison to other students in order to get buy-in. I also want to show them how it can help their children with math facts.
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 their homework assignment at this time. Not all have access to computers outside of school.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I use a spreadsheet with the mean and median scores for the class on assessments, and then use a bell curve to give them points that total about 20 percent of their overall grade. We test on a monthly basis.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
My goal is to get all students up to 70 percent completion of the ALEKS curriculum. Three have already met the goal but have not yet finished their pie.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Over half of my class did not have a handle on their basic math facts in multiplication and division. Now, only a handful has difficulty in this area and all have significantly improved their results on a five-minute grid of 100 multiplication problems. Most students see clearly through the pie chart and percentage of completion how far they have come in a year. It is impressive.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
My feeling is that up to half of our total class time spent on ALEKS is appropriate. The topics covered in ALEKS seem to line up well with our text. Teacher explanations and expectations, however, seem to be equally important.