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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Woodside Middle School, Saydel Community School District
Des Moines, IA

Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computers in Classroom
Purpose: Enrichment/Gifted and Talented
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 90%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week, 27 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Middle School Math Course 2, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1

Cynthia Fell, Coordinator of Gifted Programming
ALEKS has been very helpful in providing opportunities for students identified for high ability math skills. The program has allowed exceedingly strong math students to progress successfully through two or more years of math curriculum in a short period of time.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Making sure that gifted and talented students master topics before moving on to the next level, and documenting their acceleration were challenges. ALEKS allows for both of these challenges to be met. 

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
3-4 days per week.

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


Implementation

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students receive an ALEKS worksheet on Monday that is used for weekly homework. On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, students work the whole period on ALEKS. Wednesdays are used for enrichment activities, such as problem-solving and logic puzzles. On Friday, students check their ALEKS homework worksheets as part of their math grade, and the rest of the time is used for enrichment, such as math games.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
This class is a gifted resource room and each student has an individual educational plan.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
No one is required because some students lack computer access at home.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
Parents of students who score at least 95 percent on the ITBS in the spring of their fifth grade year or have a teacher recommendation are contacted. With parent permission, these students take an above level assessment; if they earn at least a 75 percent, they are invited to participate in the school's accelerated math curriculum path. A parent conference at the beginning sixth grade is held to outline the math acceleration path for each student.


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?
Students are assigned a weekly ALEKS worksheet; they may complete additional worksheets for extra credit.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
ALEKS worksheets are about 40 percent of the students' overall grade. Quizzes account for 20 percent and problem-solving activities account for 40 percent.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
No, but we encourage them as they tend to thrive on competing against themselves to improve.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Students love it! They have a better foundation to accelerate into the next level of the math curriculum.  ALEKS provides both acceleration and documentation of what the student has accomplished.


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
With high ability students, giving them choices really helps to motivate them to achieve.