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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Madison Middle School, Vista Unified School District
Oceanside, CA

Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Computers in Classroom, Home Access
Purpose: Intervention, Supplement, Improve State Test Scores, At-Risk Students
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 40%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 1.5 hours per week, 25 hours per term
ALEKS Course: Middle School Math Course 3, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1

Heidi Carter, Teacher
I have had EXCELLENT results using ALEKS. I've used it for three years and think it is very valuable.


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
Most of my students using ALEKS are below basic or just at the basic level. I also use ALEKS as a supplement for my Algebra 1 students.

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

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


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
Math support students go to the computer lab two days each week and use ALEKS all period. Algebra students are required to do one hour per week as homework.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Not really, but I try to focus them on number sense, fractions, and decimals the most. For my Algebra students, I match pie slices to the chapters in the book.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
I place students based on their assessments in ALEKS. Students use spiral notebooks with date stamps to record their work, notes, etc.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I make sure I am scheduled for the computer lab two days per week without fail!

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
For math support students, any time at home is extra credit. Algebra students are required to complete one hour per week as homework.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I discuss it at Back-to-School night, parent conferences, phone conversations, etc.


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?
For Algebra students, one hour per week is one-fifth of their homework.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I assign points per day for my math support students, and points per hour in Algebra.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
For math support students, I measure  by new assessment, and reward them for their progress. For Algebra students, I raise their grade by one full grade if they improve 20 percent or more per quarter.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Almost every single student is making progress using ALEKS. They enjoy looking at their assessments and seeing their progress. The average seventh grader in our math support class scored 39-40 points higher on the California Standards Test (CST), and all of our Algebra 1 students scored proficient or advanced!


Best Practices

Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
Having students use spirals to keep track of their work, notes, examples, and other problems is a wonderful tool. I date stamp the top of the page when they begin working for the day. I also use a colored marker when I help students in their spirals so they can reference the example later and it shows up well. I use QuickTables with students for the last five minutes as a reward. I then print out their certificates and "wallpaper" my room with them to motivate others to finish.