Wednesday, December 8, 2010


What is ALEKS?

"Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system that uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS offers truly individualized instruction that meets the student at her learning level and instructs her on the exact topics that she is most ready to learn. As a result, no two students will experience the same learning path while working in ALEKS."

I got this description straight off their resource page, I agree. I was given a free trial (and you can get one too...) for my honest opinion of this resource.

ALEKS can provide you with the instruction and support that you need to homeschool your children in mathematics for grades 3-12. With a comprehensive course library ranging from elementary school math to complex subjects such as PreCalculus, ALEKS acts much like a human tutor to help take the stress off of homeschooling parents.

ALEKS is a Research-Based Online Program:

Complete Curriculum Solution for Math with Access to Full Course Library
No Textbook Required
Artificial Intelligence Targets Gaps in Student Knowledge
Assessment and Individualized Learning for Grades 3-12
Master Account Includes Quizzing and Automated Reports to Monitor Learning Progress
Unlimited Online Access - PC and Mac Compatible
QuickTables - Complimentary Math Fact Mastery Program for Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction

Take a 2-min tour here

We invite you to share the ALEKS free 1-month trial ($19.95 value) with your blog readers who are homeschoolers. We only offer a 48-hour trial directly from our website, so this is a special offer only for homeschoolers who are new users to ALEKS. Access it here

I thought I'd use their descriptions, and give you our personal opinions - look for those in the italics...

Assessment: Students begin in ALEKS by taking an individualized, adaptive assessment to determine what they already know and what they are ready to learn next.
- My experience- this worked well for my kiddos grade 3 plus... not so great with my 2nd grader - who cried and ran away - but that's a different issue...

MyPie: The ALEKS Pie summarizes a student's current knowledge and offers topics that the student is ready to learn next. The darkened portion of each pie slice represents the topics that the student has mastered and the lighter portion represents what the student has yet to learn.
- My boys loved the "pie" graphic - they could easily see what they needed to work on, and got feedback on what they already knew.

Input Tools: ALEKS provides a free response environment and sophisticated input tools that avoid multiple-choice and require students to demonstrate content mastery

Learning Mode: The Learning Mode provides students with practice problems, and offers explanations of topics and procedures as needed. Once a student has demonstrated mastery in the Learning Mode, the topic is added to the ALEKS Pie, and new material that the student is now ready to learn becomes available.
- This seems like it is a great resource, but - if your student is struggling to learn this concept - you are going to need to be there... nothing can replace that face-to-face support during math struggles! (believe me, I know!)

Explanations: When a student is working on a particular problem, she can access an explanation of that problem by clicking on the "Explain" button. The explanation typically provides a step-by-step solution, with commentary. In some cases, an alternative or more detailed explanation is also available.
- My "testers" thought this was a weak point, the explanations didn't help them as much as they would like. (the math-brained kid - loved the explanations, but - he always "gets" he doesn't count!)

Feedback: Students receive immediate feedback and, in some cases, suggestions for correcting mistakes.

Worksheets: Students have the ability to print out 16-question worksheets for additional practice or review. These worksheets are uniquely generated based on the student's current knowledge.

ALEKS QuickTables: QuickTables is a research-based, math fact mastery program for multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction.
- We are going to work on this with the 2nd grader...if we can get her near the computer again!

Interactive Games: Provide additional review and built-in rewards.
- Not surprisingly, their favorite part of testing!

Master Account
Master Account Homepage: Easily manage all student accounts, monitor student progress, view customized resources, and more.
- I found this to be easy to use.

Attendance Report: Track student time spent in ALEKS per day, the topics attempted, and the topics mastered and added to the ALEKS Pie.

Student Progress Report: Track student progress made throughout the course. The blue bar represents the percent of course material that the student has mastered during an ALEKS assessment; the green bar represents the percent of new topics the student has mastered in Learning Mode since the last assessment; and the yellow bar represents the percent of topics the student has yet to learn in order to complete the course.

Quiz Results: Quizzes are automatically graded and the results are available to both the parent and student immediately. View a detailed quiz results sample report (PDF).
- Yippee! No more Math for me !

Over all, Aleks is a viable option for the busy homeschool mom. When I asked the "testers" if they would want to do it as their "only" math program...they all replied that it was a fun addition, but would alternate it with another program. (I think I might be rubbing off on them....!)

See what the other reviewers thought here

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