My boys and I have had the opportunity to review ALEKS online math program. I had previously glanced at this program a year ago, but did not spend enough time looking at it to fully understand all that this program does for its students. For this review, however, this time I jumped into it with both feet and brought both my boys with me. And I’m glad I did! This program really deserves a second look! If you’ve briefly looked at it before or have never looked at ALEKS, I encourage you to give it a good long look and try out their free one month trial.
ALEKS is the name of an online math program and the acronym for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces. This program is not a drill and practice online math quiz or game. It is a customized and prescribed full math program that teaches, provides practice for, reviews, and quizzes your child in math concepts that he shows need in mastering based on an initial assessment he takes when beginning the program.
It has it all. It even provides a math fact review in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to keep your child fresh in his/her computation skills. It also includes a master account for you, the parent/teacher, so you can keep abreast of his improvement, current mastery level, and future concepts yet to be mastered.
When signing up for the trial or the service, you will enter student information for record purposes as well as selecting the math level you wish your child to begin using. (This can be modified if you feel you need to change it.) ALEKS offers everything from elementary math levels 3-8, specialty high school math subject areas, advanced placement, as well as business math and higher education math levels available as an upgrade.
You will receive a user code and password for each child for his own student account in which he will do his work. You will also receive a user code and password for yourself for each child to set up a master account for each one, where you will be able to manage each student account. Upon registration, you will install a plug-in on your computer, but you will be logging in online and running the program online during each math session. The setup process was simple for us.
Using the Program
When using the program for the first time, your student is given a quick tutorial in how to input answers into the program. When that is completed, an assessment appears that your child completes so that the program can determine the areas in which he has already achieved mastery and those areas that still need work.
Your child then is shown a pie chart to visually explain his skill level in individual topic areas for the math level you have selected. Darker shaded areas of the pie pieces depict mastery, while the lighter remaining areas of the pie pieces indicate room for needed practice.
Your child is now ready to select one of the underlined concepts listed within a topic from the pie. When presented with a math problem to solve, he can click on the Explain button to see an explanation of that concept with examples of how to perform the math task.
There are different formats of open-ended questions. No multiple choice or true/false questions here. Your child is required to perform steps to complete a problem, just like he would with other math programs.
Your child receives immediate feedback after answering each problem with suggestions to correct his answer and a chance to answer again.
You can print off worksheets to further practice or review concepts based on your student’s current knowledge. There is also a portion of the program called QuickTables where your child can practice math facts based on the number range you select. This program also displays his mastery as he progresses through the drills.
Games provide fun review opportunities and motivation. My boys enjoyed the math games!
Stuff Just for You to Help Your Child
Your separate Master Accounts provide you with up to date information about each of your children. You can look at progress and attendance reports, create and edit quizzes, look at quiz results, and edit student account information and courseware levels.
Our Reaction to ALEKS
Mom – Well, what’s not to like about a math program that lets you have more time to work on another subject with another child while your child receives customized math instruction, feedback, and prescribed lessons? Both my guys learned each new concept easily and efficiently while I did not have to correct math work or formulate lesson plans.
I liked that I could select the math level I wanted to start with each child and I could adjust it up or down depending on how my child was performing. I loved seeing an up to date assessment on mastery of each math concept so I could get a good handle on what still needed to be mastered. I appreciated the many types of support options available to me to ask questions, look up answers to questions I had, or read other homeschool parents’ ideas in using the program with their kids.
I liked that I could generate, edit, and administer quizzes at will; and, request progress reports for my children to be mailed to me according to a schedule I chose. E-mail is a wonderful thing that puts the information right in your lap instead of having to login to another program.
The last thing I especially appreciated was that the program matched lesson objectives according the standards for the math program in my state. If that is a concern to a parent, this program assists you in ensuring your child is following those standards.
My Guys – They liked the efficient lessons and the games included. They learned the concepts that were being presented. I only had to help my older son understand the explanation for ratios when he didn’t quite get the explanation; but he got it right away after I took it step by step with him. Other than that, both my guys were able to work completely on their own.
I have an auditory learner and a kinesthetic learner. One enjoys listening to and conversing with someone about math, which this program, unfortunately, does not do like the program he is presently using. The other likes to work with manipulatives he can hold and move around while he is solving his math problems. Working on the computer is not his personal preference.
So for right now, they like what they are using. But, in the future if those math programs do not work for them, I am definitely keeping ALEKS in mind.
The prices are as follows:
- $99.95/6 months (the price of 5 months)
- $179.95/12 months (a savings of $59.45)
- There is a family discount plan available as well.
I encourage you to check out ALEKS for yourself and really take the time to look at everything ALEKS has to offer you and your children. Let your children try it out for a month and see if it suits their learning needs with the free one month trial.
Check out other homeschoolers’ reviews of ALEKS with the TOS Homeschool Crew.
Filed under: TOS Crew Reviews | Tagged: ALEKS math, math curriculum, math software | 2 Comments »