Online Learning for PreK to 12, a Review of IXL

For the last few weeks we have been super blessed to have had the chance to review a full annual membership to IXL. Mr. B does very well with online formats for his studies, so I knew IXL Learning would be a great fit. For this review, we received a 1 year annual membership.

What is IXL?

IXL is an online source for educational content for pre-K to 12th grade. They offer math, language arts, science, social studies, and some intro Spanish. Not every subject is offered for every grade, but math and language arts are across all grade levels. With an annual membership, you have access to every grade level so you can easily fill in  learning gaps as needed. IXL is a great source of material, but IXL does not teach the topic. It does give an explanation in a teaching format when a question is answered incorrectly. 

Our Experience:

I couldn't wait to get started! Mr. B does very well in online course work, and I loved that IXL offers an app for easy, on the go practice. He can use his laptop, the family desktop, an ipad, or his phone to do his school work! It's really convenient, and I like the flexibility of being able to choose the device format. It's great to be able to take his schoolwork on the go with a tablet or phone!

There's a parent tab and a student section. Both can access the diagnostic tab, so the student can always view their results.


Once I got everything set up, which didn't take long at all, I had Mr. B do a diagnostic test. It's important to remember there's no end to the diagnostic questions on the diagnostic exam. The more questions your child answers, the more tailored the recommended courses are, and the better able the program is to determine your child's academic level. Mr. B worked on the diagnostic for a little while, enough time to get a pretty good sense of his levels.  He did not spend as much time on the math skills, so his diagnostic levels are lower than where they should be, but that's ok because I know he needs some refresher practice, anyway. I really like how the program lists recommended skills so your child can easily navigate to the problem areas for more practice. 

You can access this data any time by clicking on the "Diagnostic" option at the top of the toolbar. It will update as your child works through the courses. 

The usage tab is also handy. I can easily pull up how much time he has spent per day. 

The trouble spots tab shows you questions your child has missed. This allows you the chance to see the problem areas, and address them so that your child can go on to master them. 

Scores, questions, and progress all give you an idea of how your child is progressing through the course work. It gives you a score chart that you can print for your records, questions that were asked and answered, and the graphical representation of their progress. The scores tab gives you an overall, per subject and grade, of what progress has been made, how many questions were answered, and more. It's really handy for those end of the year portfolio reviews!

Mr. B's usage:

Mr. B has done very well. He's worked on a variety of topics from 4th grade social studies covering the civil war to 8th grade science talking about the scientific method and Ecology. When your child has earned a 100 smart score, they are considered to have mastered the topic, and they lines beside it turn dark green. 

Mr. B also really enjoys earning certificates for achievements made during his time spent working on IXL. I like that I get these updates in my email. The top graphic is how it looks in my email. I click where it says "View Certificate" and I can easily go on to print the PDF for him. I get frequent updates in email that tell me how he's progressing, and how much he's doing. 

Mr. B likes the graphics, and he loves watching his smart score increase! He will sit here for a LONG time answering all of the questions under a given topic just to earn 3 medals and get his smart score to 100! He earns online prizes that go on a prize board for doing well. It's a great motivator for him!

It's also very easy for him to pick and choose the topics he wants to work on because the user interface is easily navigable. The last few days, he's really been working a lot in Spanish! He loves it! He was really wanting to learn how to count in Spanish, so he was pretty excited to find Spanish on IXL! He's been having a lot of fun!

Here are a few screenshots from the app version. 

Your child can choose to either write out the numbers or use text to input answers. It's very easy! Mr. B prefers to write them out. 


Overall, we love it. I high recommend IXL. It doesn't do any sort of streaming "teaching" content, but it's a fantastic resource to reinforce lessons, and when a child misses a question it gives a teaching explanation as to why their answer was wrong. It's super easy to switch between the parent and student sides, and easy to pull up reports. Mr. B really responds well to the built in motivators, and works hard to win the prizes and earn the certificates. It's great!

Does IXL 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?

With an annual membership, you have access to every grade level. You are only bound to the time constraints of your membership. You can move around as you need. This is truly personalized adaptive learning with the inclusion of the diagnostic testing. 

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?

There are no hidden fees, and you get access to pre-K to grade 12! 

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

It is not boring. Your child can work as little or as long as needed. The diagnostic test has no end, so you may need to set a limit on that, but I told Mr. B ahead of time that there was no completion, and he timed himself. It's varied and the time spent can be short. Mr. B likes watching his smart score increase, so he will typically work until it hits 100, but you don't have to do that. 

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

There is a wide variety of topics covered! 

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