View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science, Charter
Grade(s): 6 - 7
Scenario: One-to-One Laptop Program, Laptop Carts
Purpose: After-School, Improve State Test Scores
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 100%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 2.5 hours per week, 25+ hours per term
ALEKS Course: Middle School Math Course 2, Algebra Readiness, Pre-Algebra
Taqueena Jones, Teacher
I truly enjoy seeing the progress my sixth grade students have made in the past year. With the amount of work and time that most of my students put in, the outcome is outstanding. Students who started the sixth grade not liking math now actually love math. I give each student daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks as a smooth pacing guide. Each student who completes each task gets rewarded with a certificate, extra credit, acknowledgement, praise, bragging rights, etc. One of my students worked hard to complete two whole ALEKS Pies. She will receive a 50 dollar gift card for going beyond the call of duty. She is now assisting me by helping other students with their topics in ALEKS. My student who is helping me now has a 100 percent in math. She is awesome.
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?
The lesson that is taught in class is linked to the lesson or topic in ALEKS. For example, when the students completed one-step equations, they logged in to ALEKS to complete the topics. If they have mastered the topic, then I ask the students to move to the next topic, which is a little more challenging.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I make sure I give students time in class to complete topics that they may have trouble with. Also, the students are required to complete two and a half hours per week or master ten topics. If the students put in extra time and more topics, then they will receive extra credit.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I really have not changed my teaching approach. I try to stick to the Common Core standards which are also embedded into the program.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
I encourage the students to complete two and a half hours or more a week. They also have the option to complete ten or more topics a week. I try to give them a choice as to which one they feel they can complete on their own.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I put weekly announcements into Studywiz (communication tool) to inform parents of expectations from the students. For students who do not log on, I call their parents to inform them of not completing task. I hold the parents as well as the students accountable for not completing ALEKS.
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?
Yes, they are responsible for completing two and a half hours a week which is checked weekly. On Sunday evening, I log in to ALEKS and check the amount of hours and topics completed from the previous week.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS is usually ten percent of the grade. It is counted as a homework assignment. Sometimes it is a project grade or test, depending on what I am trying to accomplish during that quarter.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Students see the progress when allowed a little flexibility for completing ALEKS.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Since my students have been using ALEKS, I have noticed a tremendous amount of improvement in their grades, increased confidence, and the ability to learn without a teacher explaining mathematical concepts. I have also noticed that the students are actually mastering basic mathematical concepts and processes. The students enjoy ALEKS and feel very comfortable using the program.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Get students excited about ALEKS. Give incentives or rewards. Acknowledge those students who are making progress. Make sure you allow time in class for students to use ALEKS (they have the opportunity to show off what they have accomplished and it gives students room for questions and/or concerns). Give praise to students who have completed a whole pie. Keep track of students' progress and send email messages to students who are not as successful as other students. Inform the parents of what you are trying to accomplish with ALEKS. Allow other students who are successful to help others with their ALEKS. Have students make a pie chart of their ALEKS Pie (this helps students see how far they are from completing their entire pie).