You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, August 20, 2009

TOS Review ALEKS Math

It's kind of funny that we have had 2 math products come our way already when Jake truly dislikes math with all of his being. It's also pretty funny that he has really enjoyed both products.
The latest math adventure was ALEKS math. I had never heard of ALEKS before this summer, and I am so glad I know about it now!

Here's a brief description of what ALEKS is from their site:

Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn.

There is so much I can say about this product so I'll just start at the beginning and walk you through it.

Jake and I each had our own log-in information. Once I was logged in, I was able to add my student and select his class. Once Jake was logged in he was directed to an assessment to, well, assess what he did and didn't know about about the subject. In our case, I signed him up for Consumer Math. Once he completed the assessment, he was able to begin working his way through the course.

What I loved about this product is so simple - a Pie Chart. I mean really, how easy peasy can you get? But it was so effective. His pie chart was divided like chapters in a text book- Mathmatic Foundations, Business Foundations, Personal Finance, Interest, and Percents and Their Applications.

So he clicked on Mathmatic Foundations and began working his way through that 'chapter.' And this is not just a multiple guess program. He had to type in the actual calculations and answers for the problems. As he has mastered the topics, the pie slices fill in, and he can move on to the next topic. If he isn't ready for a particular topic, the program will not let him select it so he won't waste time trying to learn something he doesn't have the foundational information to learn.

The program also would have him do periodic reassessments. Now we actually did a 1 Month Free Trial earlier this year before I knew we were going to review this product, and his initial assessment was pitiful - like 17%. As of today (8/21), which is approximately 6 weeks later, his assessment was 62%, and I was very pleased with that rate of progress.

From my account I was able to see his pie chart and the topics he had mastered. His attendance was also listed by day showing the number of minutes or hours he spent in the program, the number of topics he attempted, and the number of topics he mastered.

I could request additional assessments so I could see how he was progressing through the course as a whole. And I could create quizzes by selecting from topics he had mastered, or I could have ALEKS to create the quiz for me. I was also able to print these reports for his portfolio.

Last year we used a very popular CD math course. Jake said he preferred ALEKS because, unlike the CD course where he had to sit and watch the entire explanation for the problem set, with ALEKS he could just do the problem if he knew how to do it. But if he needed an explanation, he could ask for it. He also said the explanations were clear and easy to understand.

ALEKS offers a wide range of math and science courses from 3rd grade math to chemistry. And ALEKS can be purchased month-to-month for $19.95 per month, or $99.95 for 6 months, or $179.95 for 12 months. Family discounts are available for 6 and 12-month subscriptions when purchasing for multiple students.

You can purchase it here and you can read what other TOS Crew Members have to say about it here. This is another 2 thumbs up product!

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