Understanding ALEKS -- The Math Program Sequoia Choice Arizona Distance Learning (SCAZDL) uses the ALEKS math program as the primary curriculum for math courses. Students work in the adaptive math program and have access to a SCAZDL math teacher available by e-mail, phone, or scheduled virtual classroom session for extra help. This program routinely assesses students to verify they are retaining what they have learned. This helps prevent learning “gaps” that cause problems later (as new concepts build on previous concepts in math). A video “Quick Tour” can be seen here: http://www.aleks.com/video/quick_tour Before the class: Once a student is enrolled in a math course, he/she will receive an e-mail from the math instructor explaining the ALEKS math program and providing the student’s login/password, and other important information. Often attached to the e-mail is a more detailed letter covering how to access and begin ALEKS, due dates for quizzes, expectations for the course, and teacher contact information. Students should save both the e-mail and the attached letter and should PRINT the letter to share with the parent/guardian. The student should also then post the quiz due dates on his/her calendar. SCORE: Most SCAZDL courses are taken through our course management site (SCORE.sequoiachoice.org). Each student logged in will see a link for his/her math course introduction. This gives general information and resources for the class. In SCORE, students will be able to see the contact information for the teacher, general information on the course format and expectations, and instructions on using the ALEKS program. At the bottom of the course are links for any additional resources, including an online “textbook” and any valuable math links the instructor has provided. Though the majority of work will occur in ALEKS, it is important that students access the math course in SCORE as well should they need the resources or need to contact the math teacher. After reading/reviewing the information in SCORE, the student will then go to www.aleks.com to access the curriculum. ALEKS: The first time accessing the site will require: downloading the ALEKS plug-in completing a tutorial completing an assessment (this new assessment is different from the benchmark and must be completed). The assessment in ALEKS is the program’s method of rewarding previous learning, and measuring the student’s existing knowledge of the subject, so it is very important the student completes the ALEKS initial assessment without help. After completing the assessment, the program will provide a pie graph – this pie is a representation of the topics required for the semester – it will show what the student already knows versus what he/she needs to learn in order to successfully complete the semester of math. To be successful, students must select and work on topics in the order the ALEKS program suggests. Students must spend a MINIMUM of an hour per school day logged into ALEKS actively working and learning, with a goal of completing 2-4 topics per hour. This means students should spend 5 hours minimum per week in ALEKS and should master 10-20 topics each week from the pie graph. Late starting students will need to put in more daily time than this; ask your teacher for what daily time is needed. Technical Difficulties: When accessing ALEKS, some students have experienced difficulties with some browsers, depending on the version, any “java” things needed, etc.. Internet Explorer is often more stable than Mozilla Firefox for ALEKS. Initially, the program will do a test and tell you any suggestions if there is problem. Though AzDL typically recommends Mozilla Firefox for most AzDL sites (HRW online books, SCORE classes, etc.), ALEKS may recommend another browser at times, such as Google Chrome. If you need to use Google Chrome for ALEKS, you should go back to another browser for your other classes. ALEKS has an excellent tech support line if you go to “Contact Us” or “Support” from the homepage: (714) 619-7090. Working in ALEKS: When you log into ALEKS, one of the most import pieces of data is the pie chart. Above the pie chart itself are some data you can see listed as last login, enroll date, total hours and "hours/week". Enroll date -- the original date the student was enrolled in this class Last login -- when the student last logged into the ALEKS program for this class Total hours -- all time spent in the program since the enrollment date. Students must spend an hour per school day for a total of 5 hours per week and master approximately 2-4 topics per school day or 10-20 topics per week (for students starting late in the semester, the requirement is 1.5-2 hours per day). Below the pie chart, it will say: The dotted line represents the current Intermediate Objective: Skills bank and Chapter __ (MM/DD/YEAR) - due in __ days; __ topics left to master. The date and blanks will change in relation to the student’s progress in a class. The “Chapter” listed will be the next chapter due, and in parentheses it will list what date the chapter quiz is due. It then lets you know how many days are left and how many more topics must be completed before the student is ready for the chapter quiz. For each quiz, the student is allowed to take the quiz twice, but the retake MUST be done by midnight on the due date. The Students must focus on the topics required to prepare for the quiz and must finish all the topics and each quiz (both attempts) before the quiz deadline. If it looks like there are “no topics due” for a while, you still need to put in daily time either taking the upcoming Quiz early, or working ahead on more topics. Quizzes are actual chapter quizzes separate from your normal ongoing work and assessments that will pop up at times. You have to go up to the Quiz tab and click on a quiz to take it. Since more than one attempt is allowed, you can/should click on a previous quiz, see what problems types you got wrong, and relearn those topics before taking your next attempt at it. When working on topics, students should remember: ALEKS has a calculator button, which should be used when it is available, otherwise one shouldn’t be used. ALEKS usually asks you to get three correct answers in a row to call a topic “mastered.” It is ok to have help from a tutor while learning topics as long as the student learns how to do the problem. Your student will trigger an automatic assessment as he/she gets closer to finishing his/her topics in a chapter. This assessment is given to judge the student's retention of topics learned. STUDENTS MUST DO THEIR BEST ON THESE ASSESSMENTS WITHOUT HELP, besides their own written notes. The student's pie chart will RESET WITH THE TOPICS THE STUDENT MISSED in the assessment. The student will NOT BE GIVEN MORE TIME to complete the topics. If your student is rushing to meet a deadline and only has a few days left, he/she will have to go back and re-master those topics to meet the deadline. Students are required to keep a notebook of topics as they learn them. Students may use their own hand- written notes whenever they take an ALEKS assessment, chapter quiz, or final exam. Topics can be selected from the same page as the pie chart, but quizzes will be found under the “Quiz” tab (located at the top of the screen). The final exam is taken only after ALL quizzes have been completed. The student must arrange with a proctor to take the exam in person at an approved SCAZDL testing site, given by the adviser. Math Grade: The grade for SCAZDL ALEKS Math courses is normally determined as follows. Please see your teacher’s start up information for the class to verify this, as some classes may be weighted slightly different. 20% - Participation -- based upon the requirement to spend an hour per school day in the program mastering topics, and the Participation/Citizenship input from the advisor. 60% - Quiz Scores -- average of your highest score on each of the chapter quizzes. Students have two attempts on each quiz to get the best score possible, but quizzes MUST be completed by the quiz deadline. 20% - Semester Quiz / Final Exam Approximately every two weeks, you can receive a grade update from your advisor, or your teacher can give one at any time. Prior to the first quiz due date, the in-progress grade will be based solely on participation (time spent and topics learned). After the first quiz due date, quiz scores are factored-in also. The final exam is factored at the end of the course. Do you know how to use math help videos when you get stuck? Do you know how to keep a handwritten notebook which you can use on tests and your final exam? We are here to help you succeed, so please ask!
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