A Review of the ALEKS Online Math Program

As I may have mentioned on more than one occasion, math is definitely our homeschool nemesis. It isn’t a strong subject of mine, and none of the kids particularly like it. Finding a math program that works for us is a never ending mission. I’ve heard of ALEKS math before, but I really didn’t know much about it. I was pleased to have the opportunity to review the Algebra 2 program (for Kathryne in high school).

A review of the ALEKS math online program

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What is the ALEKS math program?

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ALEKS is an acronym for Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces. It’s an online based program and offers not only math, but also some business and science programs. And there are programs for elementary, middle, and high school as well as some specialized programs like test prep, AP class prep, and college prep.

ALEKS isn’t specifically a homeschool program. It’s designed to be used by schools as a supplemental resource. But individuals and homeschool families can purchase and use it as well. ALEKS is $19.99 per month for students. There also yearly payment options and some family discounts. (You’ll need a separate account for every student.) With your subscription, you’ll receive a student account and a master parent account where you can access your students records, print reports, and assign quizzes. You can find pricing information here and information about how to get a three hour trial period that allows you to try out the program and learn more. You can also take a tour of the regular programs and the QuickTables program they offer. QuickTables allows students to practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.

The program works by identifying areas that the student knows or doesn’t know in a particular course. That information allows the program to create a personalized instruction plan for each student.

How is ALEKS used?

The parent in the master account can set up each student’s information and choose the course the student will work on. You can change the course at any time. A subscription gives you access to the entire course library.

When the student logs on for the first time- on any web connected device- they are introduced to how to use the program and how to enter answers. For Algebra 2 this was especially important because the student will need to enter algebraic expressions, fractions, and other answers that are not just numbers. The students enter a complete answer. They don’t just select the answer with multiple choice.

After the initial login and explanation, the student is taken to a 25-30 question assessment. They aren’t told whether their answers are correct or not, but the information gleaned is used to create a personalized program. The program is presented to the student in a visual way with a pie graph called My Pie. On the pie are highlighted areas that show which topics the student needs to work on. The student can select an area that is indicated by an arrow, and then they can select a specific lesson in that area.

When the student enters the learning mode, they are given problems to answer. They can click for an explanation and then work the problem and supply the answer. ALEKS has a calculator on the top tool bar. Sometimes it is highlighted for the student’s access, but at other times, they can’t use it. From the learning screen, they can also choose to review previous lessons, print a worksheet, or take an assigned quiz (that the parent has created on the master account).

What did I think about ALEKS?

I really like the method of diagnosing where the student is and creating the learning plan based on that. In most math courses, there are some topics the student already knows and some they can struggle with. With the ALEKS method, they are focusing their time on areas they really need to learn.

My kids generally do better with a video instruction, not something they just read and see worked out on the screen. ALEKS is more like a textbook that teaches and illustrates. Some kids can learn this way, but mine don’t seem to do as well.

I like that there are so many reports and record keeping options for the master account. Our state doesn’t require detailed record keeping for homeschoolers, but I like to have those records for high school classes especially.

The price of this program is high for a large family. If I wanted all of my kids to use it, I would pay $60-$80 each month. This would limit my ability to use it and would be a concern for other homeschool families as well, I think.

It is nice that there is a tour- both video and printed- to show exactly how the program works, and you can sign up for the free three hour trial. This allows you to see what the program looks like before you sign up. Paying monthly also means you can cancel your subscription if isn’t working. I appreciate programs that want you to be informed about how the program works.

You can learn more about ALEKS here and find out how you can sign up for the trial.

Disclosure: I received a free month’s subscription to ALEKS in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

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