Read to the bottom of this post for an opportunity to try ALEKS for a full month FREE!
ALEKS is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. It is a complete, student-directed math program with no additional textbooks required. ALEKS uses adaptive questions to determine what a student does and doesn’t know and then gives step-by-step instructions for the topics that the student is most interested in learning. ALEKS offers K-12 math courses in addition to higher education and continuing education math, business and science courses.
We used several of their elementary math courses in addition to a middle school math course.
Each student begins their ALEKS experience by taking a placement test.
At the end of the test they are presented with a pie chart of what they will learn and what they already know. The student is allowed to pick the topic that they would like to work on and ALEKS gives them step-by-step instructions and guidance as they work through their new problems in the learning mode. Our kids enjoyed having the freedom to determine what they would study each day. One day ALEKS did tell Matthew that he had done enough geometry and should select a different topic, but generally their learning can be delight directed.When they give an incorrect answer ALEKS explains their mistake and allows them to try again. This is an important key to quick learning, immediate feedback when a mistake is made. It prevents the children from developing bad habits that could happen if they worked a full page of problems incorrectly. It also allows the children to work more efficiently, again no full page of problems worked incorrectly. You know how discouraging that can be for both parent and child.
As they demonstrate proficiency with the subject matter, ALEKS adds that topic to their completed pie and new topics become available for them to study.
For the elementary levels of ALEKS, Quick Tables are available for drilling students on their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts. Students are drilled on their facts and then given an assessment of facts they know and choices on which facts they may choose to work on next. The green indicates the student has mastered that fact and the yellow are facts that they may choose to review some more. As the student masters more facts they “win” new review games to play.
Each week I was emailed a progress report for each child that summarized their attendance, topics mastered and quiz scores. These reports are available in more detail online through the master account. The options for tracking student progress are divers. Through the attendance tracking, I can see the exact amount of time that my student spent on ALEKS each day, the number of topics that they worked on and the number of those topics that they mastered. The master account also offers detailed progress reports and quiz results and more.
An ALEKS subscription costs $19.95 per student, per month OR $99.95 every 6 months OR $179.95 every 12 months. There are family discounts available, our 4 students would cost $299.84 for 6 months.
Our family loved using ALEKS math. Our children appreciated being able to choose their topic, they were very motivated to make progress on their pie chart and they understood the directions and mastered many new topics and problems. Mark and I love that it is very easy to implement and manage, we can check on the children’s progress and understanding of each topic and it automatically reviews topics that the children have already mastered which makes this a truly unique and complete math learning system.
There are a few potential drawbacks with ALEKS math.
- For many families the cost might be prohibitive. ALEKS is per month, per student fee and it is completely consumable. There is nothing to pass down for your younger children to use.
- Since ALEKS’ fees accrue each month there is a distinct disadvantage to covering material more slowly over the course of a year, rather than intense work during a 6 month time period. Making it even less economical for families who school year round.
- Another problem is scheduling for families who, like us, have only one computer. Our oldest 4 were using ALEKS and I scheduled everyone 30 minutes each day which means that 2 hours of our school day was spent with the children cycling through ALEKS. The older children would have benefited from more time, but we simply couldn’t fit it all in to our schedule.
ALEKS is easy to implement and all of our children enjoyed using the program, were motivated by their progress and learned a lot of math. For a family that has the resources I would highly recommend considering ALEKS math for your children, but you don’t need to take my word for it.
ALEKS is offering a full one month trial membership to any homeschoolers who read Raising Olives. If you sign up for the ALEKS trial on the main website you will only have 48 hours to try it out. So click on the link above and try it for yourself.
Here is my warning: You may get hooked. This is an amazing math program and when you see it for yourself, you will not want to go back to textbooks and grading math problems again! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
This post is included in the Homeschool Curriculum Review Roundup.