Monday, June 15, 2015

CTC Math 12 Month Family Plan Review

CTCMath Review
Greetings blog readers! For last several weeks we have had the great opportunity to review a 12-Month Family Plan for CTC Math. CTC Math brings you an online based math curriculum that includes computer based practice and streaming videos that teach math concepts. Your child can work at his or her own pace, "rewind" the videos as needed, and take their time to master math concepts. CTC is multi-sensory based with visually appealing videos and practice problems. CTC brings a really nice online math program to homeschoolers that doubles as an online math tutor, as well. For this review, we received 1 12 month family membership account. 
How We Used This:

Mr. B really likes computer based math curriculum (ok, he really likes any sort of school work that is computer based,) so I knew CTC would be a hit. We were so excited when we were chosen for this review since I've heard GREAT things about CTC Math, but we had yet to experience it for ourselves. We settled in as soon as we received our login information, and prepared to be wowed. The lesson videos are short, really short. I'm talking some of the 4th grade videos were just a couple of minutes! The 5th grade videos we've used so far have been around 5 minutes. So yes, the videos are short. 

After watching a video, Mr. B would then do the practice questions. What is nice about these questions is there is a bar at the top that will let you know how close you are to completion. This is really nice for students with any ASD as they have a visual transition tool to assist them in knowing when they will be finished with the questions. 
Here are some screen snips to show you what the videos look like. 

As you can see, on the right is where you can find the questions for this subtopic, as well as a lesson summary. 

Autism Math Curriculum

After the handful of questions (around 10 or so, thus far...) Your child will be presented with a report that looks like this: 
Autism Math Curriculum

This is a visual representation of the lesson your child has just completed. It allows them to see their score, what questions they answered incorrectly, as well as the corrected answers. I really like the history graph to show their progress through the topic.

If your child wishes, he or she can also skip the video by simply clicking on the "Questions" icon.


In similar fashion, the parent's area also has detailed reports. These are great if you have the option for an end of the year portfolio review. You can simply print off these reports to include in your portfolio, instead of dozens of worksheets. Also, on the right hand side of your screen there will be a running list of "Recent Activity" telling you when your child has logged in, what they did, and their score. I am not providing a screen shot of this for privacy reasons as it does list your child's name. 

Autism Math Curriculum

This (above) is the detailed report. As you can see, we just started our 5th grade lessons. Mr. B was a bit on the hyper side, so he had to spend some time today doing "homework" to settle down a bit. The detailed report breaks down the sections into each part, and lets you know how well your child did on each topic. I have set it so that a 90 is a passing grade, which is why the bottom two have checks and the top doesn't. Now, I know Mr. B knows his numbers to 1 million, but due to his sensory seeking this morning, he failed to properly read the questions. That, and the layout of some of them were a bit confusing to him, but I'll get into that in more detail in just a bit. I have the option to allow him to do this section again. It would be nice if the program allowed for a total redo, but it doesn't. Currently, your child can redo a section as many times as they like and the program will average the scores. I wish there was a way to complete delete a section/score in the parent interface. 

This is the summary report. this just lists the main topics, the number of lessons within that topic, the number of lessons your child has attempted vs. the number passed, and the average score. This is a nice overall view of what is going on. 



Overall, we like CTC. There are a few things that bug me, though, that I think hinder this particular program from a special needs/ASD perspective. First, I've always taught my son to work his math problems from right to left. This includes how he writes out his answers. So if an answer is 1, 347 he would write the numbers in the following order: 7, 4, 3, (comma) 1-right to left. In CTC Math he must enter the numbers as 7, 4, 13 with no comma-with 7 and 4 right to left, and 1 and 3 left to right. This has been VERY confusing to him, and VERY frustrating when he would be scored incorrect when he had actually arrived at the correct answer (an no ability to go in and manually change this.) It just seems backwards to us. Also, there are NO commas. This led to more than a few mistakes. It is a generally accepted notion that a comma separates each grouping. A comma between the 100s place and the 100's place, Between the 100,000's place and 1,000,000's place, and so on. CTC Math leaves out these commas.

He got this answer wrong because the lack of commas confused him. I feel this is a pretty significant flaw in a really nice program. It seems rather minor, but it would keep us from utilizing the program in the future just because of the confusion. 

Again, no comma to distinguish. The lesson is taught in a very nice way, the use of colors provides a multi-sensory means of learning, but the lack of comma is confusing to my son. 

This screen snip shows another confusing matter. I did not get a screen snip of the actual problem that caused his confusion, but this was close to it. The actual problem was one where you had to state how much each place value was. But there was no place holder for the 0's in the question. For example. Here there would be 3 100,000's, 0 10, 000's, 5 1, 000's, 0 100's, 7 10s, and 4 1's. This confused him as there was no place holder for the 100,000's place. That's something to think about if you have an ASDer who wishes to use this program.  

I think if there was an option to print out worksheets for the elementary grades, this might prevent some of the mistakes from being made. He could enter in his answers in the manner in which he is accustomed, and add in his own commas. 

You can somewhat customize your user interface, so that is good. I left it as the standard blue, but this shows you can change the background color if you wish. I tried to get a screen snip showing the color options, but the window would leave each time I clicked elsewhere. There is a large variety of colors from which to choose. 

Autism Math Curriculum

Despite the above issues, CTC Math is a really, REALLY nice math program. It is a nice blend of visually appealing software and teaching that go together to help your child master math in a fun, game like way. You have a great parent area that details your student's progress with easy to print reports for a clutter free end of the year portfolio or record keeping. 

Does CTC Math pass my 4 ingredient test?

1.) Customization: Is it easily adaptable? Can we customize it to fit “us?” Can we modify or set our own schedule? Can we take breaks, jump ahead, or flat out skip?

Yes, you can customize your own schedule and everything, right down to the background color! Your child can even choose to skip the video and go straight to the questions. If my son has shown a definite mastery of the material, then I allow him to skip if he wishes. Also, if you notice in the above screen snips, you child can rate each lesson with stars to indicate the level of understanding.

2.) Value: Is it long lasting? Will it cover multiple grade ranges? Are you locked in to one specific grade level? Are there hidden fees?

You must add each individual student, but your membership lasts a year and you can choose various grade levels. So you are not locked into a specific grade level, and there are no hidden fees. You have unlimited access to any lesson on any grade level. This is really good if your child is behind in some areas, but more advanced in other, or if you are between grades.

3.) Attention span: Is it boring? Is it engaging? Is it varied enough for ADHD? Does it last too long?

The videos are pretty short, and the practice questions are limited in quantity. Your child shouldn't have to spend a great deal of time at any one session. We typically do a video and 1-2 sessions of practice each day.

4.) Does it tie into other things we already have.

This is just math. There are no other lessons involved, just math. Since math is all around us, it will of course tie in to anything math related. But if you are wanting a more unit study approach, this isn't it. This is a well executed online math curriculum.

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