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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Frank Seale Middle School, Midlothian Independent School District
Midlothian, TX

Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Computers in Classroom
Purpose: Special Education, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students, Supplement
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 20%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1 hour per week, 30 hours per term

Darlene Dodd, Special Education Teacher
I have really enjoyed using ALEKS with my Resource Math class. The program offers the option of customization for each student. I have been able to let those students who are ready to move on to harder concepts move on while continuing to keep others at their functioning level. They are able to take concepts we have learned in math and apply them in the ALEKS program. I try to correlate what we do on ALEKS with what we are doing in class. ALEKS also offers protection from adverse consequences by not making it so obvious when a student is working at a much lower level. The students feel good about their progress and enjoy seeing their pie fill in! I have really enjoyed adding it to my curriculum and look forward to using it again next year.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Because students are so technology-driven, it is always nice to have a program like ALEKS that can be used in class along with other curriculum. Websites or software programs I used in the past did not give me the flexibility that ALEKS provides for the individualized instruction I need.

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
1 day per week.

What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
60 minutes.


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
I use the program on a weekly basis to reinforce concepts we have learned earlier in the week or to prepare for a test.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Yes, I follow along with our textbook to cover all of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) required in sixth grade.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We use ALEKS on Wednesdays as our lesson. I will either set up a quiz or have on the board what piece of the pie they need to work on for that day.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I did not really have to modify my teaching approach too much. I use ALEKS as a supplement to the concepts taught that week.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
As often as possible. Some of my students do not have Internet access at home, so I do not give extra credit for it to not leave those students out.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
This year, I put a notice on my class website letting the parents know about ALEKS and what they can expect from it.


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?
No. I do not assign it as homework because not all students have Internet access.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I only take grades for quizzes.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
I do not require them to make a certain amount of progress because they all work so differently, but I will frequently check their progress. If I see that a student has not made very much progress, I will talk with him or her to see why. Otherwise, I let them work at their pace.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
I see very good progress with my students. They are able to take concepts we have learned in math and apply them in the ALEKS program. I try to correlate what we do on ALEKS with what we are doing in class. This has become a study aid that the students use before we take a test in class. The students feel good about their progress and enjoy seeing their pie fill in!


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I would say to just have fun with it. The students enjoy it and so should you!