View a selection of implementation strategies from educators who are successfully using ALEKS to achieve dramatic learning outcomes.
Sidney Middle School, Sidney City Schools
Jackson Center, OH
Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Computers in Classroom, Home Access
Purpose: Intervention, After-School, Improve State Test Scores, Special Education
Time Spent in ALEKS: Varies
ALEKS Course: Essential Mathematics (with QuickTables), Middle School Math Course 2, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1
Katy Taylor, Inclusion Teacher
Although we have only had this program for a short period of time, I already love it! I think it does an outstanding job of individualizing the needs of each student. I love how easy the program is to use, the availability of activities, as well as the amount of activities. Having students fill in their pies is absolutely genius! The students have a visual aid that doubles as a motivation technique! What a great thing! Finally, the best feature is the fact that answers are not multiple choice. Students have to work for the answer, therefore, results are based on knowledge and not guessing.
What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
My students are all in special education and the majority of them struggle in math. Their basic skills are below grade level, as well as their ability to solve problems.
How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
What is the average length of a class period when ALEKS is used?
How do you implement ALEKS?
I use ALEKS as an after-school intervention program. We do rotations with students between three different rooms, and one of the rooms is the computer lab. Students work for 35 minutes when they are in the computer lab. I also use the program during the time I have all of my inclusion students, as well as during their study halls. Any free time we have in class, I also put them on ALEKS.
Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
We used ALEKS in a variety of ways. We use it in the computer lab after school for an intervention program, as a supplement in the classroom, as an intervention during study hall, and for students working above grade level. I just wish we could have had the program the entire year. That way, we would have been able to develop a specific schedule to use all year.
How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
I encourage my students to use ALEKS at least 3-5 times per week at home. I sent a letter home to parents and explained the benefits of the program.
How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
I sent a letter home with the students' user names and passwords explaining the program and the benefits of having their children on the program.
How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
We could not use ALEKS for grading because only certain students had access.
Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
The unfortunate thing is that our district did not receive this program until very late in the year, so the chances for a lot of progress were hindered. However, just in the short time we've had the program, students are increasing their skills. This is especially true for our special education students. For the first time, they are able to work with a program that adapts to their needs and gives them the opportunity to succeed from the beginning. I think that having the pie is an excellent idea because students clearly see the progress they are making. As it starts to fill in, you can tell the students are excited about their progress.
Are there any best practices you would like to share with other teachers implementing ALEKS?
I think there are so many ways to implement ALEKS. What I would like to see our building adopt is the ability to have an intervention class each period of the day in order to place students on the program, especially those that are at-risk and in special education. In addition, I would like students in study halls to have the opportunity to work through the program so many times per week. Furthermore, I would like to see our gifted students have the opportunity to work ahead in order to continue increasing their skills.