IXL is an online math program covering pre-K to algebra to help children review, practice, and master math skills.The first three levels include audio of the questions and answers for non-readers. Most of the levels cover over 200 different skills. An account consists of a parent dashboard and one or more children.
For every skill set, the problems get more difficult as the child attains a higher "smartscore." The smartscore is based on how many correct in a row, difficult of the problem answered, how many missed, and other factors. I noticed that the closer to 100 or "mastered" the more a missed problem depletes the score.
Once a topic is mastered, the child will earn an award. These awards are little pictures on the Awards tab. Each level awards have a theme. All of the pictures uncovered will show a picture related to that theme. In addition to the little picture awards, there is a place in the parent's dashboard to print certificates of achievement if desired.
The parents dashboard consists of graphs, usage reports, state standards alignment, skills mastered, skills needing work, and many other reports and ways to track of all children's progress. Similarly, the child can find his or her own reports under the reports tab while logged into the child account. In the parent tabs, the state standards covered can also be viewed.
IXL membership is either monthly or yearly. For a yearly plan, it is $9.95/month or $79/yr for one child with the additional children added at a discounted rate of $2/month $20/year.
What the testers thought:
All of my kids really enjoyed IXL. They thought it was fun to find a hidden picture and they enjoyed working through the problems. The one downside was that when a problem was missed at close to 100, the score would drop dramatically and really frustrate a child.
What I thought:
I think IXL is a good tool for review and practice. Because it is on the computer, the children like it, even if it is drill. The pictures are cute and I liked that I could hide the grade level in the parent settings and make all the grades letters. This helps my children to not worry about "grade" and just work where they are at. I liked that not all problems are multiple choice. Some require typing in the answers and others are multiple choice. I also liked the reports both on my dashboard and those that were emailed to me. I could see what topics were being practiced that week, time spent, and what levels my children were working at.
One thing I did not like was the repetitiveness of some of the question topics. It seemed, especially in geometry, there were only so many ways a question could be asked before it was virtually repeated. For example, Tiger had never heard of rotational symmetry. After getting a couple of problems wrong, looking at the explanation for why it was wrong, and getting one correct, he was able to just duplicate his answer without much thought. Also, the child has 1 chance to get the problem correct. This makes sense in the case of a 2 answer question, but if a child is typing an answer in, sometimes a typing mistake is made. A second chance would be nice in that case.
Overall I think IXL is a fun way to reinforce math concepts. I found IXL a good transition tool for when I was working with one child one on one, another could practice while waiting for my help. They all looked forward to their turn on IXL.