Friday, February 10, 2012


I have a confession to make. I did not want to review ALEKS. We have reviewed quite a few computer things and my kids really don't care much for math so I just didn't want to try it.  Well, was I ever wrong on this one!


ALEKS ( Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system for grades 3 and up. 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 they are most ready to learn. As a student works through a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained. ALEKS courses are very complete in their topic coverage and ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions.

You start out by choosing a course (there are MANY to choose from). The student then takes an online assessment and they are ready to begin. I made an account for myself, my 16 year old daughter that struggles greatly in math, my 14 year old daughter that has always done well in math but was having some Algebra struggles, my 6th grade son and my 3rd grade daughter.

Watch this short video for a quick overview:

The Master Screen which allows you to edit your account, view your child's progress, create quizzes,
see how long your student as spent on ALEKS and more

Quick Tables is a math facts practice portion of ALEKS for grades 3 and up.  Once they practice enough they get math games to play to further help their skills of the 4 basic operations.  Watch this video for more information:

The green boxes show which facts the student has mastered.

The ALEKS pie that I love.  Mouse over a piece of pie to see available topics to learn about.

The first week I just could not get enough of it.  I was a poor math student in high school and then ended up majoring in math in college.  It just sort of clicked with me later.  So, for me it was great fun to do the math and watch my "pie" fill up. I think ALEKS is especially good for students that enjoy checklists.  The pie serves as a checklist and is a real motivator.

So, what do the kids think?  Well, my 16 year old daughter has tried everything in math and has never liked ONE thing we have tried until now.  When it came up that we had a free 2 month trial she said, "We only get this for 2 months?" I nearly fell off my chair!  She has spent a lot of time using ALEKS and I am delighted.  My 14 year old also likes it. As to my 6th grade son, he says he doesn't like it but he works on it without me telling him to so it can't be that bad.  My 3rd grade daughter likes it and would like to continue.  Frankly, I don't think we can afford it for all of them, but if money was no object I would be signed up already.

One of the things I really love about ALEKS is that it keeps track of everything for me and sends me a report each week so I can see how each child is progressing and I only have to help when they can't figure it out for themselves (which hasn't happened much to be honest.)

a sample attendance report
you can see how long the student has spent each day the topics they worked on
and the topics that were mastered
A student can access an explanation of a problem by clicking on the "Explain" button.
The explanation typically provides a step-by-step solution, with commentary.
These pages can also be printed.

I am very impressed with the way you enter answers into this program.  They avoid multiple choice questions and have an easy system for entering complex answers.  Overall, I give ALEKS 2 big thumbs up!

A subscription to ALEKS for an individual student is:
$19.95 per month
$99.95 for 6 months- Six months for the cost of five
$179.95 for 12 months- Best Deal: You save $59.45

They also offer family discounts.  Homeschoolers that have never tried ALEKS before can request a free 2 month trial.  I think this would also be a great review tool for a student to use at the end of the year to see if they've learned everything they need to know before moving on.  I did the entire Readiness for College Math course in a couple of days. (with great pleasure) Please be sure to add all of your children at once for your free trial.  You will not be able to add additional children later on.

Read what others are saying about ALEKS on the TOS crew blog.

Disclaimer: I received a free 2 month trial of ALEKS in exhange for an honest review.

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