Monday, September 7, 2009

ALEKS: A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Last fall, I had an opportunity to try ALEKS (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) as part of TOS Homeschool Crew, and was pleased to see ALEKS on the review list again this year. The company has been making changes for parents and teachers since we used the program. (Last year's review is here.)

Returning First Mates were given a short trial period to review the new features for parents and teachers:

New Master Account features:
Create a custom Quiz for your students
Review your student's Attendance Report
Receive our new Progress Report via e-mail

The web site explains that ALEKS is a research based on-line math program where on-line access is unlimited and no textbook is required. The User's Guide for Parents explains that "ALEKS provides individualized, one-on-one instruction that fits your child’s schedule. It is available wherever you access the Web. ALEKS was developed with support from the National Science Foundation. It is based on a field of Mathematical Cognitive Science called “Knowledge Spaces.” The purpose of research in Knowledge Spaces is to model human knowledge of any subject for quick, precise assessment and efficient guided learning in interactive computer programs."

While I didn't think the web site was difficult to navigate last year, the site is more user friendly to me this time around. The slight facelift and additions to the Master Account make my job easier and provide me more information about my students.

My favorite new feature is the ability to create a custom quiz for my children. I can go directly to an area of study within their ability and and experience and assign quiz problems to them in different categories, as many or as few as I choose. You may choose to have a student retake a recent quiz, (duplicating content but not the questions) and ALEKS gives you the option to allow ALEKS to create a recent knowledge quiz based upon recent course material.

ALEKS gives parents and teachers the ability to see an attendance report, which allows us to verify and track time spent.

I have an inbox with my master account, and assessment and quiz results are sent to that inbox so that I can look over them and print them if I choose.

I like ALEKS. The customer service is awesome. I don't have to drive a child to a tutor or pay hourly rates for that tutor. My only problem with ALEKS is that it begins at 3rd grade, and I have one child not quite ready for 3rd grade math. I will subscribe when my children need extra help in math. (Regular use is necessary and ALEKS recommends three hours a week, minimum.) ALEKS assesses each student and customizes work based upon where each one is working, giving them practice and experience exactly where it is needed. ALEXS is priced at $19.99 per month per student, with family plans and six month and one year packages available.

ALEKS offers a 48 hour free trial on the web site home page. Take the time to take the tour and a free trial. A free trial month is available to those new to ALEKS via the TOS freebie page.

For my Crewmates reviews of this product, go HERE.

1 comment:

PaintCrazy said...

My 11 year old slightly advance daughter loves ALEKS math and I do too! We use it as our core math curriculum for her. My 12 year old ADHD son...not so much but that has more to do with his not liking math in general than ALEKS. We've struggled with math curriculums for a long time and he seems to like ALEKS better than others. He loves seeing his pie wedges grow and down right celebrated last week when his red wedge was completed!

And I agree about the quizzes - love them!

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