Computer Math Accounts (ALEKS) for Low Income Students
My students need individual accounts for the ALEKS math program so they can work at their own pace to make multiple years of math progress in one year.
In one year, my 11th grade students need to make multiple years of growth in math to be college ready.
My students attend an inner-city school in California.
Almost all are students of color from families well below the poverty line. Despite the challenges they face, for the past four years all of our graduates have been accepted to four-year universities. Once they get there, though, they are struggling with the college level math that is the gateway to science and technology careers. We are trying to strengthen their math preparation by having every student master Pre-Calculus in 11th grade and ultimately Calculus or Statistics senior year. This is an ambitious goal for students who may still struggle with basic math skills in 11th grade, and I have been constantly revising the 11th grade math program to make this goal a reality.
Over the past two years, I have piloted a "hybrid" way of teaching that uses the online math program ALEKS in combination with off-computer work to allow each student to master the material at the pace that's best for them. This has worked amazingly well. Students who entered 11th grade with skill gaps as extreme as not being able to accurately multiply negative numbers have filled in those gaps and are now excelling at 11th grade math standards. Advanced students who used to be bored in class now get to rocket ahead to learn advanced material we never had time for before. Even during the messy first year pilot, my average student grew more on their state tests than 72 percent of similar students, and this year's students are on track to show even more impressive growth. I need to purchase another year of subscriptions for next year's class so that my low-income, inner-city students can continue to make these gains in math.
My students change the odds for themselves and their community by going to and succeeding in college.
They demonstrate that low-income students of color can become successful engineers, scientists, and economists. They help pull their families out of poverty and inspire younger students. For this to happen, their high school experience needs to prepare them well for college math. Using ALEKS as part of a hybrid class works to accomplish that, and we need funding to continue it next year.
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