What is ALEKS?
ALEKS stands for Assessment and Learning Knowledge Spaces. It is the online component of the McGraw-Hill books that Ironwood High School and CDO High school use. It was so successful that Amphi District purchased it for all middle school grades as well.
How does ALEKS work?
Basically ALEKS is a self-paced curriculum that is built around constant learning and knowledge checks. At the beginning of the year, all students took a 30 question Initial Knowledge Check. Some of those questions test multiple skills. For example, in a single problem, they might be tested on scaling up or scaling down similar polygons, finding an area or perimeter and also decimal and fraction operations.
Every 20 Topics Learned AND 5 hours of logged-in time, ALEKS will trigger a Progress Knowledge Check. This is when all topics Learned convert to Mastered, provided they were correct on the Progress Knowledge Check.
It is possible to Learn a topic and then miss a question on the Knowledge Check and then ALEKS will make you relearn that topic before eventually testing you on it again.
Can I help my child on ALEKS? How much help is too much?
You can absolutely help! Remember this is supposed to be curriculum for the whole year and all kids have different starting points and work at different speeds. What that means is that there will be times they will need help. Ultimately, they will need to be able to do it on their own in class, so productive help is the most appreciated. I would really encourage to only use a calculator on the problems it pops up on. Of course you could open a new tab or use a phone calculator but the hand calculations are good practice. Remember that 6th graders don't get calculators really on any of their tests and quizzes with minor exceptions at the end of the year when I teach some 7th grade math.
How is it graded?
This is where it gets tricky. My goal is to have as much completed by the time AzMerit rolls around in the middle of April. This will only be graded on completion and not accuracy. Also, each grade for the quarter will be a rolling grade. That means if they don't have their max points on that assignment, I will go back and adjust the grade once they catch up. Each quarter will only have 1 ALEKS grade instead of multiple entries. Please check the assignment comments for notes on individual students. My tentative plan for now is as follows for the 374 Topics for the year.
- Quarter 1- 125 Topics mastered total
- Quarter 2- 200 Topics mastered total (75 for the quarter)
- Quarter 3- 275 Topics mastered total (75 for the quarter)
- Quarter 4- 350 Topics mastered total (75 for the quarter)
The reason I am being more aggressive earlier in the year is that ALEKS is supposed to give you the topics that you are the most ready to learn earliest and saves the more difficult stuff for later. Many students are already close to the 125 Topics for Quarter 1 just based on their Initial Knowledge Check. I am extremely confident that going through and understanding the ALEKS content will make the classwork easier because students will have prior exposure.
Remember that I have office hours Tuesday and Thursday at lunch which is a good time for me to help if you don't have time or unable to help at home.