Zionsville parents respond to Current’s ALEKS math poll


Current in Zionsville asked readers: Do you think ALEKS math helps or hinders students, and why? Below are the anonymous responses we received.

Other – It is *totally* procedural.   No Concepts here!

Other – depends on implementation and student

Other – If used *carefully* it’s a good tool.

Other – It is 100% procedural — no concepts at all.

Other – replaces teaching

Other – My biggest complaint is If a student misses one topic in a progress assessment they can miss six other topics with it.  This significantly drops the students overall score.  Brutal on self-esteem and motivation.  It also makes it less clear what was not being understood.  How would u feel at work if you were reviewed with a low score in an area and told it was related to one of these six things?  Very unmotivating! Also a waste of time.  We have paid $45 per week to have a tutor to fill in the gaps Aleks leaves.   I agree with the comment in the paper.  This is our third child thru ZMS.  ALEKS interferes with Math education and the confidence skills needed to build on.  Our first two children got that before ALEKS.

Other – I fear my son has received a false A since starting ALEKS.

Other – It discourages use of pencil and paper, which ultimately hurts kids.  Teachers only see that correct answers are given, and cannot see the process by which kids get them, such as by searching the web, using WolframAlpha, etc.  Aleks should not be a substitute for requiring kids to turn in homework on paper.

Other – if used as a tool, it can help. too often it is the primary teacher.  My daughter will be tasked with completing 20+ standards which she has had no actual teaching on from the teacher.  She is told to teach herself.

Other – It is a terrible program.  My child has to do about 50-60 topics every week, and if she doesn’t, her grade is effected. This applies to many kids. It has turned into a program where you don’t work on your own pace. You simply have to get to the “goal”, and if you don’t,, the next “goal” is just even higher. The students cannot learn that much in a week and have it really help them.

Other – I believe Aleks can be a good tool but the teacher needs to still teach and work with the students to make sure they are mastering their topics and just not competing with their classmates.

Other – Great as an aid, but not useful as the primary teaching tool, which despite school/teacher objections – it has become the primary math teacher!

Other – My son has been very successful with using ALEKS but when asked if he likes it, it is a strong NO! I do know of several kids who struggle with ALEKS and it definitely does not fit every childs learning style.

Other – I do not believe success with Aleks translates to success in math at the high school level and potentially beyond.  I have seen my straight A student in 7th and 8th grade math struggle along with MANY of her peers in Honors Geometry.  In addtion, many have now dropped out of the Honors level math altogether.  I have a hard time believing this was the case prior to Aleks as students are less prepared for high school as identified by her Honors Geometry teacher.

Other – I think it is a great tool at home, a strong math curriculum and teacher is still required in the classroom.

Other – Aleks is terrible it allows the students and the  teachers to cheat their way through the whole school year. When the teachers and students have to worry about 6 other classes, and they get the opportunity to cheat they’ll take it. Aleks is not helpful for any students but especially the studetns movie into high school. It allows for a large gap in their math education.

Other – ALEKS is not correctly implemented by all ZCS teachers  many of which use it as the sole curriculum. High School teachers are encountering unprepared students because they used ALEKS instead of the traditional curriculum in middle school. The school board has heard the parent  and student concerns and is conducting research to determine what the next step should be. The Board’s research is unclear and possibly includes the bias of the very company that sold us the ALEKS program. Also, an ALEKS representative spoke at the end of the recent board meeting lauding the effectiveness of the program in other districts and did not take questions in an effort top suggest the student and parent concerns are unfounded. Our concerns are being treated as anecdotal and as simply complaints from parents about too much homework, etc. The fact of the matter is a vast majority of ZCS students are frustrated and unprepared. It is undeniable. ISTEP and NWEA scores are not accurate measures to justify that ALEKS is worki

Other – I don’t know if it hinders them, but I certainly don’t feel they can “master” subjects by answering 4 questions.

Other – Aleks may have a place in the classroom.  However, it should supplement the curriculum and not be the sole basis from which are kids are instructed.  I’ve very concerned about the depth of knowledge attained and the level of retention as we use Aleks as the main learning vehicle.  I would love to see our district give students/parents a choice here.  Just as we can select which foreign language fits a given student or which enrichment course is best suited (band, art, choir, etc.), we should provide the choice of Aleks based mathematics for those who flourish with that and more “traditional” math instruction for those who prefer that approach.  One size never fits all; that is where we may be failing a large portion of our kids.  I am confident, however, we will advance to a better place here as a result of this evaluation.

Other – aleks is terrible!!!!!!!!!! It teaches us nothing. This is coming from a fifth grader

Other – Aleks teaches nothing and math is fun anymore 🙁 This is coming from a 5 th grader


Other – It’s awful. Absolutely terrible. My Kids do not learn anything. It’s not that it doesn’t teach them enough, it doesn’t teach them ANYTHING.

Other – Aleck is great for my kids my daughter doesnt learn well with teachers because they all go to fast and not at her pase, but with aleks she can go at her own pass