Each of our students brings their own set of mathematical smarts to their class and each student has the ability to make valuable contributions to their group's learning. Each student also has a different level of procedural fluency and access to the Common Core Math Standards. This huge range of student preparedness requires extreme differentiation among our students. Most of our math education is about how we can work well together despite language barriers, knowledge gaps and cultural differences but we also recognize the need for foundational building blocks of mathematical knowledge and understanding.
We use the online math application Aleks to address some of these challenges. Below we have detailed some of the ways in which Aleks helps us teach our children.
Procedural fluency - students are assessed on their individual understanding of mathematical concepts across grade levels. The Aleks program tailors the work to each student, allowing for both acceleration and intervention, modifying the material to meet student need.
Blended learning - students use the program to learn or review topics at home so they are able to participate in collaborative group work and projects in class. Aleks provides valuable data to teachers, so they can easily tell who has learned the topic and who hasn't in order to give specific students more support in class.
Differentiation with feedback - the Aleks program assigns, teaches, and reviews concepts on an individual level with each student while providing immediate feedback on their work.
Targeted instruction - the program helps to identify students that are struggling with current topics in the class and allows the teacher to bring them up to speed with targeted instruction.
We have used Aleks for close to a decade at Hoover. Unfortunately, this year our budget has changed so we are lacking the funding to continue using Aleks. The cost of licenses for 1000 students is $22,500. Our budget is $9,000, leaving us needing $13,500.
If we can fund the licenses by the end of May we will be able to start with Aleks up and running the first week of school. If we reach our funding goals by the end of summer we will have to wait a few weeks into the Fall semester to get Aleks up and running.
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