View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
James L. Day Middle School, Temecula Valley Unified School District
Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
Purpose: Intervention, Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, Improve State Test Scores, Core Curriculum
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1 hour per week, 18 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Algebra Readiness, Algebra 1
Cathy Ralston, Teacher
Once I got the hang of it, ALEKS has been a great addition to the classroom experience. Students can work at their own pace on skills that they need to master. They need very little intervention or supervision from me. ALEKS allows me to have half of the class working on computers while I work with the other half of the class, which gives me the illusion of a smaller class size. Classroom management is easier since students are self-directed. It's easy to keep tabs on what the students are learning, and I can see what they are getting done each day.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
There's a wide variety of skills in a single class.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
3 days per week.
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
It is supplementary and complementary to the course I teach. Some of the material in ALEKS is review for students and has no relationship to the curriculum. Other topics are the same topics we have studied in class. It is used along with the curriculum but not coordinated to match the curriculum.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Half of the students log on as soon as they enter the room, and they have 22 minutes on ALEKS. After 22 minutes, the groups switch and the next group logs on for 22 minutes. For groups not on ALEKS, they have class instruction or work on assignments.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I have less time for instruction in a large group but more time to help students individually. I have been able to teach more or less.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Very few work at home even though I encourage them to do so.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Letters are sent home informing parents of the program. Bonus points are given to students who return the signed letter. At Back-to-School Night, parents are shown how to use ALEKS at home.
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?
Students must do their work for ALEKS on paper and turn it in every week. That is part of the homework but a very small part.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is 20 percent of the students' grade. They are graded for progress, showing work on paper, and passing QuickTables tests on multiplication.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I expect them to learn one topic every ten minutes. If they reach this goal, they get 80 percent for their ALEKS grade. More topics improve the grade. Then I total the topics and give them a grade every two weeks.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students enjoy being able to select the topics they work on. They get immediate feedback to their open-ended answers and learn how to fix their mistakes on their own. We use ALEKS three days a week, and the students are disappointed when they are not using the program. They like being able to see their pie chart grow and being able to track their progress.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I like having kids on computers for 20 minutes only. They waste time if they spend any more time than that.