View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Linus Pauling Middle School, Corvallis School District 509J
Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Home Access
Purpose: Intervention, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 100%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3.5 hours per week, 80 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Pre-Algebra, High School Preparation for Algebra 1, Algebra 1
Stephanie Swenson, Math Teacher
My experience with ALEKS has been extremely successful. I have seen my students mature a great deal since we started ALEKS. They are more engaged and enthusiastic about math, and look forward to selecting their own lessons in the program.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
When students are in the lower math track, very few ever advance to a higher track. Many of these students also have attendance and behavior issues, often resulting from frustration with math.
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 started using ALEKS 2-3 days per week in the computer lab. On the other days, I would provide ALEKS worksheets or give a lesson on the concepts that my students were struggling with online. My students have matured a great deal since using ALEKS, and are now allowed to work independently in the computer lab, five days per week. They are required take weekly assessments to monitor progress and complete at least one ALEKS worksheet a week.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
No, I allow students to choose the order of the lessons they complete.
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Students log in to ALEKS as soon as class begins and complete their lessons independently. I walk around the computer lab and help individual students with any questions. Two days per week, I also have student teachers help.
How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
Great question! I had to let go and trust that ALEKS works. Now, I supplement when necessary, and am able to work individually with my students.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
They are encouraged to work on ALEKS in study hall and at home as much as possible. I offer incentives, such as extra credit or free late homework passes, for students who work on ALEKS outside of the classroom.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I contact every parent to explain ALEKS, and show them how to access it from home or the library.
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?
ALEKS lessons and worksheets comprise all of the homework for the class.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
Students receive a daily ALEKS grade while in the computer lab, worth 10 percent of the final grade. If they are on task in ALEKS during the class period, they get all of the points. If they are absent or off task, they need to make up that time at home, the library or in study hall. I use the assessments as their quiz/test grade for each quarter for 60 percent of the final grade. The assessment grade is then curved due to the difficulty level of the questions. The final 30 percent of the grade comes from ALEKS worksheets and any problem sets I assign from their textbook.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes, however progress goals are set on an individual basis. Students who are able to process new concepts more quickly than others are required to complete 15 lessons per week. Students who struggle with math and reading are required to complete 5-8 lessons per week.
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
My students feel amazing! They are happier in class and are excited to choose their own lessons in ALEKS.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Trust that ALEKS will work and let go of that control. I found as soon as I did that, I saw amazing results.