IXL® has activities for math, language arts, social studies, and science, but there are lots more for math than for the other subject areas. IXL offers monthly or annual subscriptions. A subscription provides access and tracking for one student, but that student may access practice topics from all levels. Subscriptions for additional students in your family are very inexpensive. The program provides online math practice with tutorial help for pre-kindergarten through pre-calculus.
Topics are aligned with state (or province) standards. When you set up the account it will enter your state by default, but you may change it if you wish.
A student can start with any math topic at any grade level and can skip around at any time. I love this flexibility! Questions automatically adapt to a student’s level as he works, becoming more or less challenging depending on how well he is doing. The system tracks progress and provides “awards” (pictures) after a certain number of questions are answered.
If a student misses a problem, a popup screen gives the correct answer and displays an “explanation” button. Clicking the button brings up a simple explanation of the skill. In some cases, this is sufficient to explain a new skill with which the student is not familiar, but not always. Consequently, IXL Math needs to be used as a supplement rather than your primary source of instruction.
The system presents quite a few questions of a single type each time. Students can end at any time by clicking “submit and finish,” but they won’t earn awards until they spend a certain amount of time and complete a minimum number of problems. I really like this feature since, while some students prefer completing all problems on a topic in one sitting (demonstrating mastery), for others it can become boring answering the same type of problem over and over again. For example, an easily-bored student might solve ten multiplication problems, ten division problems, and ten fraction problems one day (selecting particular skills such as multiplication by two-digit multipliers within each area), then either continue in those same topics the next day or shift to others. Parents will probably want to direct topic selection if students are not completing the topics in order.
Another feature I greatly appreciate is that once the student types in or clicks on an answer, the response is immediate. A large “Correct!” appears to show they answered correctly. But there are no animations or additional “Good job!” encouragements to slow things down.
Parents can receive daily or weekly email reports on student progress and they can access detailed progress reports at any time that point out trouble spots as well as topics that students appear to have mastered. Note that you have to select reports by grade level, so if a student works on topics within more than one level, you will need to change the grade level to see all results. Online user guides are available, but you probably won’t need them since the site seems so easy to figure out.
I have looked at a few online math tutorial and practice options, and this is one of my favorites!