Math-Whizz® is an online math tutorial service that includes a sophisticated array of options for children in grades K through 8. You purchase a monthly subscription for each child. The program cannot be shared since it assesses and tracks each student, adjusting tutorial lessons and exercises to reflect the child’s placement and progress.
Children begin by taking an assessment that begins with questions appropriate for where a child of his or her age should be, then gradually advancing difficulty to determine actual placement on various math topics. Some children might find this a bit tedious since it asks the same type of question multiple times. You might have a child split the placement assessment into two or three sessions.
Once they complete the assessment, children begin the tutorial lessons that align with the Common Core standards for mathematics. Each lesson begins with an animated demonstration of the concept then provides practice problems. Often, there is assistance through part of the problem which is gradually removed.
Children win points for speed and accuracy on problem solving. Points may be used to play any of a dozen of more online games. The games are just for fun and are fairly good for “free” games. Students may also use points to purchase a variety of virtual items from the virtual store. Without spending points, they can redecorate their “bedroom” area and use the tools: a calculator, protractor, ruler, geometric grid and shapes, and a pencil. (It doesn’t appear that students are able to access the tools while working through tutorial lessons, so I’m not sure that they are of much use.) Animations and sound throughout the program add some interest, although it is possible they will simply be distracting for some students. Sometimes, students can push the “OK” button and move on more quickly, forgoing some of the animation. Students can also access and review previous lessons, something parents might direct them to do from time to time.
Parents and children have separate sections in the subscription. Parents can check on progress with detailed reports, printing the reports or certificates of accomplishment.
Developed in the United Kingdom, the program occasionally uses mathematical expressions familiar to UK citizens such as referring to currency with the £ symbol and leaving spaces rather than using commas in writing larger numbers. Also, the decimal point appears above the baseline, looking like the dot we commonly use to indicate the multiplication function. Once students are alerted to these differences, it should not matter. But the site publishers tell me they are working rapidly to replace these UK distinctions for users in the U.S., so they might be gone by the time you sign on.
Math-Whizz is not designed to be your complete math program, but it should work great as a supplement. Parents whose children attend another school can also communicate student progress in Math-Whizz directly to the teacher if they wish.