aleks app

App of the Week: Math gets adaptive

Strong adaptive learning makes traditional math curriculum more useful.

Ed. note: App of the Week picks are now being curated by the editors of Common Sense Education, which helps educators find the best ed-tech tools, learn best practices for teaching with tech, and equip students with the skills they need to use technology safely and responsibly. Click here to read the full app review.

What’s It Like? 

After taking an initial assessment to gauge their competency level, students are presented with a pie chart of competency, a timeline of content to master, and a number of ways to dive into that content. Once they select a subject, they’re given a fairly typical textbook-style lesson, with written explanations and vocabulary, worked example problems, and then a series of practice questions. ALEKS gives feedback on what students are doing well and struggling with along the way, and it either speeds or slows progression as it measures successful work. As kids get through lessons, sectors of their competency pie grow to reflect their emerging skill.

Price: Free to try, paid

Grades: 3-12

Rating: 4/5

Pros: Provides tons of data to teachers and students, and competency-based progression is far better than grades.

Cons: Math content is mostly traditional, decontextualized and dry.

Bottom line: For kids who crave a traditional mastery-style math learning experience and have good self-regulation skills, this is a great option.

Meris Stansbury

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