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Aleks

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ALEKS - Assessment and Learning which stands for "assessment and learning in knowledge spaces," is a web based  math program that acts kind of like a math tutor.

They list these advantages for homeschoolers:

ALEKS is a Research-Based Online Math Program:

  • Complete Curriculum Solution for Math – One Subscription Allows Access to All Courses
  • No Textbook Required
  • Artificial Intelligence Targets Gaps in Student Knowledge
  • Assessment and Individualized Learning for Grades 3-12
  • Automated Reports Monitor Learning Progress
  • Unlimited Online Access – PC & Mac Compatible

I had seen many adds for Aleks free one month trial and had even signed up to try it out, but hadn’t ever had the time to get it started. So I was happy to give it a try when the TOS Crew was asked to review it.

When we first registered, we were sent individual codes to get each of the girls started. Each logged into the website and began by taking a level assessment.  Taylor went right through with no problems. At the completion of her assessment we were given a color coded pie chart which showed us the different parts of the program, and the importance of each according to the size of the slice. The portion of the slice that the child has already mastered is colored in, and continues to fill in as the skills are mastered. It’s really easy to understand and operate. The child can click on the skills she wishes to work on, and if she doesn’t understand how to work the problem she can look through an explanation and then be given another problem to work.  The system actually helps her in seeking to master the concept to add to her pie.

     In the Learning mode, there are several options to choose from. You can click on "report" any time you want to view what your child has done or worked on. There is a "dictionary" of mathematical terms, a "review" for use to have her review past material, "worksheet" function to print out worksheets, "message" to send messages to each other or to Aleks, "help" button, and then "MyPie" takes you to the pie chart that summarizes the current mastery or to choose a new concept to work on.

We had trouble with the screen freezing up during assessment phase with Morgan, and she grew quite frustrated with the whole thing. I must say the the customer service was very nice and willing to try and help out, though, and we did get it up and running after a few tries. Morgan enjoyed working through the program as well. I really like the way it is set up as it is super-easy to use. Probably the most user-friendly program we’ve seen, actually.

   The really cool part is that Aleks sends out an email of the amount of time the child has spent over the past week and the concepts that were worked on and mastered.

   Now I must mention that our family is using MATH-U-SEE as our primary math program. Morgan has been through a few different programs which are "traditional" in nature and go through many different concepts a little at a time then switch to another. So she didn’t have much problem using the program. But Taylor has not really been through many other programs than MUS, so she is not used to just doing a couple of problems of this and a couple of problems of that, rather mastering one large concept before moving on. So there were some concepts she didn’t really understand, which was actually a great thing because we were able to truly be able to assess that ALEKS really doesn’t "teach" the concepts, but acts more like a tutor for the things they already know but need review and or help on.  Taylor did as much as she could, but couldn’t do some parts because we hadn’t covered it yet in her math program.

   All in all I feel this is a neat program, especially for those who are using a traditional type program that switches around between different concepts often. When I was looking into Math-U-See one of the concerns was that if a child was "tested" according to "traditional" testing that it might appear there are "gaps" until they get through the basic levels, but then they jump way ahead because they were taught each concept to mastery before moving on instead of jumping around between concepts, so in the end the concepts are cemented together more soundly. I did see that the things Taylor understands, she completely "gets," and to a higher- than- grade- level degree, but some of the things in her assessment she hadn’t even covered yet, and the program isn’t set up to teach the concepts, just review them, so she went as far as she could and that was it for her with Aleks.

For Morgan, she enjoyed what she did do, but was quickly bored with review, and like Taylor, hadn’t covered some parts yet so did what she could and that was it for her too.

 

A subscription to ALEKS is

  • $19.95 per student, per month, or
  • only $99.95 every 6 months, or
  • only $179.95 every 12 months.

They do have a family discount program.

You can get a free trial here to check it out and get an assessment of your student’s current knowledge, and to see if it would be a good fit for your family.

You can find them on the web at www.Aleks.com .

Update as of 12/16/08: Aleks has been very generous to send a link for a one month free trial as opposed to the 48 hour trial on their website so that you can check them out for yourself! You’ve nothing to lose, and this might just be a great fit for your family, so if you would like to try them out, here’s the link!!

Go check them out!

Enjoy your kids,

Chris

 

 

 

 

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