High School Students in Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2 Use ALEKS to Gain Skill in Math

High School Students in Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2 Use ALEKS to Gain Skill in Math
Posted on 02/15/2019
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This year high school students in Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2 classes have been using a new tool in their classes: Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS). The online math platform was chosen to better customize learning with the specific needs of each student. It was adopted by the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District in the spring of last year.  

According to Director of Leadership and Learning, Deidre Roemer, “We strongly believe that the ability to solve complex math problems using high level thinking skills translates to higher ACT scores, better performance in math subsequent classes, and increased readiness for college or a career.”

With ALEKS, students are on a math continuum based on what they’ve learned and what they’re ready to learn.  Now, teachers (and students) don’t have to wait for everyone to be on the “same page.” Students can work at their own pace to demonstrate mastery of material.

What is new for some, is that ALEKS requires students to demonstrate
on-going mastery of topics as they conquer new material. This is a change from the “one and done” routine (e.g., study and take a test then begin another unit) of the past. Why is that important? ALEKS is helping students retain and reuse the problem solving skills essential to their overall math expertise.  

“We realize there are challenges when new materials and tools are introduced in the classroom. ALEKS is not designed to replace the teacher. Nor is it intended to be a time log of math activities. Teachers are using data from ALEKS to plan whole group instruction and gather detailed information to work with small groups around specific topic,” said Math Curriculum Lead and Principal of Nathan Hale High School, Matt Lesar, “We’re encouraged by teachers that report an increase in confidence and achievement for students using ALEKS. We know they will continue to work with students to set goals and address specific skills using ALEKS.”

With ALEKS, our students are doing more math practice demonstrating the skills that are in long-term memory or being asked to repeat the practice,” said West Allis Central High School Principal, Jeff Taylor. “This should improve our ACT scores and post-secondary outcome measures.”

As always, if parents have questions about ALEKS or their child’s progress in math, they are asked to work directly with the math teacher. “Each teacher has the specific goal setting and usage information for every student,” adds Roemer, “They are happy to talk with parents and students about how ALEKS impacts math progress.”