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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Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School, Hawaii Department of Education
Kamuela, HI

Grade(s): 6 - 8
Scenario: Computer Lab, Computers in Classroom, Home Access
Purpose: RtI, Supplement, Special Education, After-School
ALEKS Portion of Curriculum: 30-40%
Time Spent in ALEKS: 3 hours per week, 140 hours per term
ALEKS Course: MS RtI Tier 3

Erica Owens, Special Education Math Teacher
In the past two years, I have seen my students' test scores go up. The students are also feeling successful as they see their pie charts fill up. The pie chart is a great visual for both the students as well as for the parents. I also use the available reports when writing my Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).


Scenario

What challenges did the class or school face in math prior to using ALEKS?
The students were coming in two or more grade levels below where they should be. ALEKS is helping them make gains, and they have access outside of school and can log on anytime, anywhere. We have students logging 16 hours on the weekends.

How many days per week is class time dedicated to ALEKS?
2-3 days per week.

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


Implementation

How do you implement ALEKS?
The first year we had ALEKS as a school, we had an ALEKS workshop as a class. Now ALEKS is being used throughout the math classes.

Do you cover ALEKS concepts in a particular order?
Since my students are weaker in the whole numbers area, I set intermediate objectives for them in that area. I then add decimals and fractions when they are ready.

How do you structure your class period with ALEKS?
Sometimes I use ALEKS as my warm-up. I also use it when a student finishes their assignment before the rest of the class. I assign at least 30 minutes a night as homework. I also use the ALEKS worksheets as homework assignments.

How did you modify your regular teaching approach as a result of ALEKS?
I look to see what common topics I can review with the whole class and will teach a mini-lesson on that topic, then the students will work on that topic after the lesson.  I can also break the class into smaller groups based on common topics.

How often are students required or encouraged to work on ALEKS at home?
We ask that they use ALEKS at least three hours outside of class.

How do you cultivate parental involvement and support for ALEKS?
We hold an ALEKS night at the beginning of the year where the parents sign up for the trial so they can experience the assessment.


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?
I assign at least 30 minutes a night as homework; sometimes ALEKS is the only homework I assign.

How do you incorporate ALEKS into your grading system?
I set benchmarks in overall assessments that I want to see. For example, for the first quarter, I want to see an improvement of at least 10 percent. I use this score as a formative grade.

Do you require students to make regular amounts of progress in ALEKS?
Yes. The first quarter, there is a benchmark of 10 percent growth in assessments. Second quarter, growth of 20 percent is expected; the third and fourth quarters are both set at 25 percent growth.


Learning Outcomes

Since using ALEKS, please describe the learning outcomes or progress you have seen.
Most of my students are at least two grade levels below where they should be. Using ALEKS has allowed them to make gains in the areas where they need it. ALEKS targets the specific topics that the individual student needs. I can have one student working on multiplication while another is working on subtraction if that is the area that needs strengthening. ALEKS is wonderful since it is completely differentiated to the individual student. Students also love using ALEKS. They like that they can use the Explain button and no one in the class knows that they needed help. They like being able to send me questions and comments. The pie chart is also a great visual and I have created charts that hang in my classroom that show overall progress in assessments by class. The charts motivate the students to get on ALEKS outside of class so they can add to the class chart.