ALEKS – Mastering Math {TOS Review}

I sure wouldn’t mind eating some pie right about now…

Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a unique Web-based program that uses artificial intelligence to assess and instruct the student in areas that a student either needs more instruction in or does not know in a course.

ALEKS was created by internationally renowned mathematician and Professor of Cognitive Sciences Dr. Jean-Claude Falmagne. The ALEKS program is based on Knowledge Space Theory which is a field study that began in the early 1980s.

Before using ALEKS for instruction, it is suggested that the student be assessed which is conducted through the program and lasts for about 45 minutes. The program is very in tune to the needs of the individual student who is walked through a tutorial showing him how to take the personal interactive assessment. The instruction on how to use the program and answer questions carries through to when the student actually begins using the program after his assessment.

The results are immediately available after the student completes the assessment and he is presented with a pie chart that is very detailed showing the student (and parent) the areas he has mastered as well as the areas where he needs more practice or instruction. The student is now ready to step into the learning mode and this is where the fun begins.

The pie is broken up into different colors and the darker the pie area, the more the child has mastered in that area of the course. As the child continues to learn he is continuously re-assessed and the pie colors darken as lessons are completed and mastery is made. The program is very intuitive and will not “promote” the student unless he or she has truly master the covered material. Questions are presented to the student in a variety of ways, none of them being multiple choice, so the student has to have a good grasp on the concept before mastering a complete area.

See Video Overview:

I did have a bit of confusion as to how to get started, but watching the video did clarify a few things for me and after that, River and Lily were able to get started using ALEKS. They even asked, everyday (really), to use it, but there were only allowed to use it a few days a week which is really all the time your child needs making ALEKS a good supplement to any math curriculum.

The first time we used ALEKS, I chose the areas I wanted them work on, but after that, they were allowed to access ALEKS and choose the area of study they preferred. The only thing I asked was that they “mix it up” and choose at least one topic from each area that they still needed to master. It was exciting to them (and me too) watching their pie take shape as their individual levels of mastery increased in the areas of need.

ALEKS also offers other ways for mastering the material which comes through the use of “games” (through QuickTables) and worksheets. It has a wide list of offerings for students in grades kindergarten through college and a specialized section of SAT and exit exam material to help a student succeed. There is also a section just for homeschoolers and ALEKS QuickTables, a “math fact mastery program for multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction for grades 3 and up” of which you can take a video tour.

I liked reading the results of River and Lily’s assessment because it gave me an idea of areas where they needed more work. The approach ALEKS takes with presenting the questions and having the resources/prompts available to them for further explanation to help complete a question allowed me to step back and let them work through the material themselves. I was sent e-mailed a progress report as to how River and Lily were progressing through their individual material and particulars like when to what they did well on and where they needed more work. I also like that the program works to ensure mastery instead of just moving the child along to the next phase for false recognition.

Even though we don’t spend a lot of learning time on the computer, ALEKS is a program that was well liked in our home. Math is always a subject that makes you wonder if your child is learning what he or she needs to know at his particular grade level. The only thing that would prevent me from using this program on a long term basis is the price per student which I would not be able to justify for us at this time, but can see a possibility as my children get older and begin preparing for taking pre-college exams.

ALEKS offers a FREE two month trial that I would definitely suggest you do because there is a lot your child can learn and master in just two months.

ALEKS has the following pricing: $19.95 per student/month, $99.95 per student/6 months, or $179.95 per student/12 months

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

The product featured in this review was provided to me free of cost by the manufacturer or representing PR agency as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. The opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.
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