View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
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Conway Middle School, Jefferson County Public Schools
Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
Purpose: RtI, Enrichment/Gifted and Talented, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 100%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 5 hours per week, 30 hours per term
ALEKS Course: RtI 6, RtI 7, RtI 8, MS RtI Tier 3, Middle School Math Course 2, Middle School Math Course 3
Jim Boneck, Teacher
ALEKS is great. I love that it reaches each student at their own level. Additionally, ALEKS frees me to assist students precisely when they really need help. Students like having control of which topic to work on. As they proceed at their own pace, students learn math confidence and math skills.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Many students were more than one grade level behind their peers in math skills.
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?
I refurbished old laptops that were too slow for the newest district software and connected the laptops to the Internet. We assign students to use ALEKS based on their last state mandated math test. Those who failed the state test spend 18 weeks working with me. Additionally, I work with students who have failed their current math class for course recovery.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Students select their own topics.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students come to my classroom for 50 minutes a day, five days a week.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I have more time to spend building relationships. Once I have built that relationship, and students trust me, they are more willing to work with me.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
Students are not required to work at home, but it is encouraged.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I email or call parents to tell them about ALEKS and ask them to monitor their students' progress using the reports in ALEKS. I ask them to encourage their student to use ALEKS at home, especially if they stay home sick.
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?
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
My course grade is made up of four parts: 25 percent test, 25 percent homework, 25 percent classwork, 25 percent participation. I use the number of ALEKS topics mastered as a classwork grade. The goal for each student is to master five topics per day, with 20 topics or more per week earning an A grade. The improvement from one ALEKS assessment to the next is the basis for my course test grade, with any improvement over nine percent earning an A grade. Homework and participation are graded outside of ALEKS.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Five mastered topics a day.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students think ALEKS is great. They feel more confident about their ability to do math and love to see the pie fill in! Every student I have put on ALEKS who has tried, even a little, has learned math and has increased their test scores.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
It is important to start students in the correct ALEKS course. For instance, I once began a student in Middle School Math Course 3 when they needed RtI 8. The student made almost no progress and hated the class. Once I moved the student to RtI 8, however, the student performed better, could see their progress, and actually worked more.