Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Aleks Review


Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system.

When I first heard of this program and visited their website, I was not sure what to think.  There are no colorful characters jumping around and no animated games to play.  I was worried that Funny Bunny would not be interested in it.  And to tell you the truth, it looked a bit complicated to me.  But before I give you my assessment, let me tell you a little about it.

ALEKS is available for a variety of subjects and courses in K-12, Higher Education, Continuing Education, Homeschool, and Independent Use.

For homeschoolers, ALEKS can provide instruction and support in math for grades 3-12 and is accessible from any computer with Internet access.  ALEKS includes:

*  Complete Curriculum for Math with Full Course Library
*  No Textbook Required
*  Artificial Intelligence Targets Gaps in Student Knowledge
*  Assessment and Individualized Learning for Grades 3-12
*  Master Account - Monitor and Direct Learning Progress
*  Unlimited Online Access - PC & Mac Compatible

Once the student account is set up and they become familiar with the system, an assessment that includes about 30 questions is given.

Following the assessment, the student receives a report in a color-coded pie chart.  Each slice corresponds to a particular area of the course, such as fractions.  The darker portion of each slice represents the topics that the student has mastered and the lighter portion represents what the student has yet to learn.

The Pie describes the student's current knowledge of the subject and makes recommendations for further study.  Each slice of the pie may be opened to produce a list of the concepts on which the student can choose to work.

Above is Funny Bunny's Pie Chart.  This is a great tool because we can clearly see what she has mastered and completed and what she still needs to work on.  For a third-grader, I think she is right where she should be. 

By clicking on a topic suggested in the pie chart, the student goes into the Learning Mode. The Learning Mode provides practice problems and offers explanations of concepts and procedures. Once a student has demonstrated mastery in the Learning Mode, the item is added to the Pie, and new topics become available.

The student will receive immediate feedback in the Learning Mode and, in some cases, suggestions for correcting mistakes.

And for a little fun, ALEKS offers something called Quick Tables.  Students are tested on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division and are awarded games to play as the progress.

All student progress can be monitored in the Master Account.  The blue bar below represents the percent of course material that the student has mastered during the assessment; the green bar shows 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.

You can also edit student accounts, request a new student assessment, view a detailed progress report, track time spent, topics attempted and mastered, and create quizzes. 

My Thoughts:  I think ALEKS is a very comprehensive math program.  Each time Funny Bunny logs in, she is taken directly to her Pie and completes the next piece of her choice.  If she does not understand something right away, she has the option to have the program explain it to her.  When she answers the problems she gets immediate feedback.  I'm surprised that she has not complained about it being boring since most online learning programs she has used have colorful, animated characters and games, but I only have her complete a little each day, so she does not mind it. 

I love the reporting feature and have more information than I will ever need.  I can see what she has worked on, for how long, what she missed, what she completed correctly, and more.  I can give her quizzes and even generate worksheets.

The only thing that would keep me from continuing with this program is the price.  It is pretty steep for just one child, so it would have to fit into your budget, especially if you have a larger family.

Thoughts of an 8-Year Old:  I like ALEKS and use it a little every day for math.  You get a Pie after taking a math test.  Then you pick something like addition or subtraction and then pick something like Adding Double Digits and you do it.  You also have Addition, Subtraction Multiplication, and Division tables.

Find Out More:  You can find out more online at ALEKS.  Sign up for a special two-month FREE Trial to see if it is a good fit for your family.  Subscription to ALEKS for an individual student is $19.99/month, $99.95 for 6 months, or $179.95 for 12 months.  They also offer a family discount program

My Crewmates are also reviewing the ALEKS, so you can check out what they think HERE.


Disclosure:  This product was given to Our Homeschool Reviews for free for review purposes, and I do not have to return the products to the vendor.  I have received no compensation from it and all opinions and experiences within this review are my own. 


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