15 February 2012

ALEKS: A Review

For a few years now I've seen ads in homeschooling magazines for ALEKS and have even heard a parent or two mention it, but until getting the chance to try it this past month I wasn't really sure what it was all about.  ALEKS--Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces--is, simply put, a computer program designed to assess what the student already knows in the area of math and then begin teaching new concepts from that point.  Because ALEKS is internet-based, it can be accessed and used by anyone who has internet access.

It works like this:  after you get your account set up and ready to go, ALEKS will then begin your student's initial assessment.  This takes quite a length of time and while it gives the student some breaks, it is a timed
test.  After the full assessment is finished ALEKS will show the student their *pie* (see image below).  The pie shows how much of each area they have mastered.

Each time a student logs in ALEKS will show them what areas they need review in and how much of those areas have been mastered.  They can click on their pie which will also give them options to choose to continue mastering each area of their pie.  

ALEKS is really like worksheets online, with each worksheet having one problem each to solve.  Each problem does give the student the option to click "explain", which then breaks down the problem for them.  I found that their explanations were very good and very thorough.  You also have option to print out worksheets for your student, making this program work even if your student must be away from a computer but still complete their schoolwork.    

ALEKS is for grades 3-12, but also has areas of study for adults as well.  One of their newest additions is *mastery of SAT math*.  They also offer college math prep courses.  

In our personal experience, I don't think ALEKS is for us just yet.  While I liked what the program had to offer and finally got it somewhat figured out (ALEKS' site can be a bit overwhelming and intimidating) I feel like it might work better for older students.  My daughter is in 3rd grade and while she did pretty well with it, she didn't enjoy it much.  She did like seeing the mastery of her "pie" increase, but because this site is pretty plain with no fun graphics, no fun sounds and only more problems to solve as a reward for doing well, she wasn't that excited about working on it.  I am glad that we had the chance to try it out though and will be keeping this in mind as my kiddos get older.

Subscriptions to ALEKS start at $19.99 per month.  You can also subscribe for 6 months/$99.95 or 1 year/$179.95.  They do offer family plan discounts as well.  However you can request a free trial of ALEKS (this is for new users only) for you and your family to try.  

If you are looking for a way to assess what your child has mastered thus far and a way to fill in any gaps, I think you should look into ALEKS.  It may be just what you're looking for!  

Disclaimer:  I received a free trial to ALEKS through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.  



Megan said...

Thank you so much for your honest review of ALEKS. I've also seen their ads and heard about them here and there...and wondered if it was something that might work for us. My boys are almost 2,4,6 and 8. My oldest will be in third grade next year. It does sound like it is more for older students.

By the way, I love your blog. Your Hey Girl photos really made me laugh. I can so relate there. Ohhhh....our poor husbands.

Looking forward to connecting with you more over at THL.

Co-moderator for THL Homeschooling Boys Group

Lora @ my blessed life said...

Thanks so much for dropping by! I am looking forward to interacting with you and other moms of boys on THL, too!