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Last December, we were given the opportunity to use ALEKS for almost 2 months as part of the TOS Crew. The boys really enjoyed using the program and R has often begged me to subscribe. Rather than rehash why we liked it, you can read last year’s reviews (Part 1 and Part 2.)
This August we have been using ALEKS again, with my focus for this review on changes that were made to the master account page (for the parent and/or teacher.) These changes came about after several of the TOS Crew participated in a focus group study with a representative of ALEKS. After just a few weeks of using the new and improved ALEKS, I have to say that I really like it.
Now, when I say new and improved, I really am talking about the Master Account section only. The way the system operates to evaluate and monitor a student’s progress is the same. The boys still enjoy seeing their progress shown in a pie format and I appreciate knowing that they can not attempt a problem before the proper foundation is laid.
The changes to the Master Account begin with the format of the main page once you have logged into the system. Only one student will appear at a time with a drop down menu available for you to switch to a different student on the master account. You can quickly pick what you want to ‘see’ for that student (progress report, pie chart or the new attendance report.
The attendance report shows by date how much time they spent working in ALEKS, how many topics they attempted and of those topics how many were mastered. Clicking on the number of topics attempted or mastered will bring up exactly which topics they are.
Another new feature that was most likely from a suggestion during the TOS Crew Focus Group sessions last spring is to have the option to create a quiz for the student that is independent of the periodic assessment. As a homeschool mother that needs examples of her child’s work in the semi-annual portfolio reviews, this feature was something I personally value.
The master account holder can opt to have ALEKS generate the quiz based on recently obtained knowledge or select the topics yourself. You can even have a subsequent quiz use exactly the same criteria as a previous one. When you view the results of the quiz, there is an option to create a printable (pdf) copy. Worksheets are another option for more work on a topic with the final result ready to create a pdf file. With these new options, I can more easily document the boys’ progress and include it in the portfolios.
Finally, the master account holder main page has several resources readily available including the user guide, customer support and a list of course products. You can also quickly update student settings as needed or edit the QuickTables features for your student. Overall, the main page is laid out very well to help save a homeschool parent time.
For anyone with a student struggling in math, this product is definitely worth a look as the cost is still less than a math tutor. The changes made to the Master Account page also make it more user friendly for any homeschooler wanting to make ALEKS their math curriculum. While I am not ready to give up our ‘regular’ math curriculum with re-usable teacher manuals, I must admit that the changes to ALEKS are impressive and help me to love the product even more.
Pricing for ALEKS depends on the length of your ‘contract’ and how many kids are paid for at the same time.