LISBON - With students coming to the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center from nine different schools around the county, math teachers Brenda Hilbert and Aleesha Denmeade presented to the board of education the program they are using as they work to get all the students to advance.
Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) is a math program which evaluates what math skills students already know and then provides them with individualized lessons to help them learn new skills. The teachers pointed out the high school students were given the test for Algebra I and none showed total mastery. Of 286 topics, the highest score was 48 percent mastered.
Then students began choosing and mastering new skills, setting weekly goals for how many lessons they will complete and taking tests on Thursday to be certain they remember all the lessons they are taking. Every student in the room can be working on their own topic and the teachers have to know all the topics well enough to help each time someone raises their hands. Students receive more one on one time than lectures.
The teachers pointed out students are encouraged to become problem solvers and work at their own pace. The goal is for the students to know all the 286 topics for Algebra I by the end of the class. Some may even get to move forward into Algebra II. Students additionally can work from home if they have internet.
With new graduation requirements coming in Ohio including tougher graduation testing, the teachers are hoping the ALEKS program will help them get students to where they need to be. They expressed excitement about some students already gaining 160 topics, something they could never have had time to teach in a regular classroom.
In other matters before the board at its recent meeting:
- The board accepted a $10,000 donation from Eastern Gateway's Project Hope for medical supplies.
- The CTC will soon be a place to go to get a GED. Adult Education Coordinator Kelly Weikart applied so the school can offer the GED test. Currently those in the area have to go to Akron or Pittsburgh to test for their GED.
- Weikart also announced those adult students taking shorter programs or those with a bachelor's degree already may now be available for new Pell Grant scholarships.