Sunday, December 12, 2010

ALEKS Math

Aleks Math

We have been using ALEKS Math as a supplement to our homeschooling for about a month.  ALEKS is a web based math program that may be used as a core math curriculum, a supplement, or a tutor for your math students.

What is ALEKS?  The Acronym stands for:
  • Assesment and
  • LEarning in
  • Knowledge
  • Spaces
Since I initially had no idea what that meant, I went to visit the website.  The first thing I did was to watch the ALEKS Tour for our age level.  These videos were very helpful.  I found that the site is designed for students in grades 3-12.  I also learned that this course uses a computer based assessment to decide what areas your child is proficient in and where they could use help or practice by targeting knowledge gaps.

One nice thing about this program is that all your student will need is a computer, some scratch paper and a connection to the internet.   A printer is useful, but not necessary.   There is no textbook, no teacher's manual, they have unlimited access, and their work is graded automatically.

To begin, I set up a master account with information for both myself and the boys.  Then, the boys each logged in under their newly created accounts and took an assessment exam.   I chose their ability level, and they were tested accordingly.  After the exams were completed, their results were shown in a pie chart that looked like this:

Aleks Math

The chart showed each general area where they were tested, then broke those segments into smaller bits.  Using this picture as an example, the student has mastered 34 of 48 whole number subjects.  The areas where he still needs work will pop up when he puts his mouse over that part of the pie.  Now he can choose to work on any of the subject areas that are in the green rectangle.  When he decides and clicks on his choice, he will be given practice problems.  If he does well, he will be given the option to practice some more, or to be "done" which will change his mastery number to 35 of 39.  It is the same for all the areas of the pie.

If the student can not figure out how to do a problem, he can ask for help or an explanation.

Aleks Math


The program then gives what I thought were very good explanations.  These can be printed if needed.  You may also notice that each explanation here also gives an opportunity to see a more in depth answer by clicking "why?"

Once they have seen this, they may choose to see another explanation using a different set of numbers or to go ahead and practice.  Again, once they get a certain number of questions correct, they will be awarded a higher number of mastery.  This does not mean that they can't go back and do more of this type of problem.  There is a review option that is always available for all subjects, and a worksheet generator for making and printing worksheets.

When questions involving graphing, measuring or geometry come up the program has built in drawing tools, and calculators when needed.

Aleks Math


Another nice feature that ALEKS provides are drills in the form of  Quick Tables.  (click the link to see a short video about these)   As the students master more information, they unlock games, so there is incentive to do well.

Aleks Math

Aleks Math

As the teacher, I am sent a weekly report by email of what each boy has done. It includes how much time they have spent using the program, their progress, and areas where they need more work. I can also log into my master account at any time and see all of this information as well.
My impression is that overall, this is a good and comprehensive program for the way we used it - as a math supplement and practice.  Because the computer will explain anything that they are unsure of, I was barely involved in the process - yet I could still could see all that they had accomplished.  I can see this being an advantage for a busy mother with students of many ages.

If you feel that you might be interested in using ALEKS they offer a 30 day free trial to anyone who has not used their product before. 

After your trial period has expired, you may continue to use ALEKS for $19.95 per student each month, $99.95 for 6 months, or $179.95 a year.  A family discount is available if you purchase the 6 or 9 month plan.   The discount depends on how many students will be using ALEKS.

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As a member of the TOS Crew I was provided with a 30 day free trial of ALEKS in exchange for my honest opinion in this blogged review.  I received no other compensation.