Monday, December 6, 2010



ALEKS Corporation
15641 Red Hill Avenue, Suite 150
Tustin, CA 92780

Phone: (714) 245-7191
$19.95 a month per student
$99.95 for 6 months for 1 student
$179.95 for 12 months for 1 student

There are discounts for additional students in the same family if all are purchased at the same time.

A free One Month Trial is available using this special link. Just click on the banner to the right.

A big concern many homeschooling parents have is providing their children with a complete education in all the subjects without leaving gaps in the childs' knowledge. For many math is a particular concern as it is a subject that definitely builds on itself, if a child doesn't get one concept it is likely they will struggle with other concepts later on. Add to this the challenge of knowing exactly what a child knows and doesn't without making them go through a lot of repetitive pencil and paper problems. A program which to assist parents in this manner is often very welcome.

What is ALEKS?

From the ALEKS website:
"Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system."

ALEKS is a Research-Based Online Program:
  • Complete Curriculum Solution for Math with Access to Full Course Library
  • No Textbook Required
  • Artificial Intelligence Targets Gaps in Student Knowledge
  • Assessment and Individualized Learning for Grades 3-12
  • Master Account Includes Quizzing and Automated Reports to Monitor Learning Progress
  • Unlimited Online Access - PC and Mac Compatible
  • QuickTables - Complimentary Math Fact Mastery Program for Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction
ALEKS has been used successfully by homeschoolers, as well as by millions of students at schools and educational institutions throughout the world. Additionally, some ALEKS course products are American Council on Education (ACE) credit-recommended, meaning that your student may be eligible for college credit at participating colleges.

The ALEKS website homepage says they offer Math Instruction for grades K-12, however, when looking at the courses available, the lowest level is 3rd grade. This was a big disappointment to my 1st grade son as he wanted to do math on the computer also. There are also several college level courses available.

How ALEKS works

The parent sets up a student account and determines which grade level program the student will use. Then the student takes an assessment to determine what math areas they are competent in and what they need to work on. They are given "credit" for what they already know and do not have to go through that same material again. The data of what they know and don't know is compiled into a pie graph where they can easily see what topics need to be studied and practiced. The pie graph uses different colors for different topics and as the child works through the course the corresponding sections fill up with a darker shade of the same color. When they have mastered all the areas in a particular category the whole slice is the darker shade. This provides a clear visual of how far the child had progressed in that particular topic. A review tab provides more details of each topic yet to be mastered.

The work screens have a cartoon character providing directions and encouragement in speech bubbles, but otherwise it is a very clean, uncomplicated looking area. I like that there are few distractions.

The program routinely has the student complete an assessment to determine where they are at and provide instruction on an appropriate level. The information presented to the student is what is most suitable for them to learn based on their current knowledge.

Additionally, there is drill on basic facts under the title of "Quick Tables". The user is asked a series of problems and is provided additional practice for those facts missed repeatedly. The user is also shown a chart of the facts they know as well as the ones they need to practice and often given a choice of which fact they want to concentrate on. Facts that have been previously "mastered" are also thrown into the rotation. This practice is timed, but the parent has the option to change the length (from the master account) of time allowed for each fact. When a number of facts have been mastered they are rewarded with the chance to play a short game, further reinforcing the facts.

A Math Dictionary is available to the student so that they can look up information applicable to the topics where they still need to achieve mastery.

There is also a Master Account which gives the parent access to many statistics regarding their childs use of the program. Some of the items tracked included length of time spent logged in, topics mastered, those still needing to be worked on, quick tables reports, and the students pie chart. Also accessible from the student profile is a small timeline showing progress through the whole course, a breakdown of the average time it has taken to achieve the current level, and an estimate for time required to complete the entire course.

A downloaded Plug in is required for ALEKS to work. There is a streaming Plug in available so the program can be used on computers where a download is not doable. ALEKS is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

How we used ALEKS

My daughter enjoyed the ALEKS experience, particularly the graphs and geometry. She has been eager to use it, which is not usual for Math. She said she would like to have a similiar program for grammar.

ALEKS also provides the option to create worksheets from the student account. I did not use this option during the review period.

I tried the Behavior Science Statistics course and discovered how much I have to learn in that area. This course also operates in a similar manner to math course. I think I could make progress with this kind of program that allows me to work at my own speed.


I liked the format that gives the student credit for what they already know. Math is not a strong subject for my daughter, but seeing how much she already knew gave her the confidence to work on some topics where she needed more practice.

The Quick Tables are a fun method of drill.

I especially like the time report as my state requires maintaining a time log. It helps me to double check I have recorded the correct amount of time.


The measurement topics were harder to use than other topics. We had difficulty positioning the virtual ruler just so to be able to get an accurate measurement for length.

The cost is expensive for my budget. However, I liked the options for 6 and 12 month subscriptions at a savings off the monthly price. As a parent with only 2 children, I was happy to see the family discounts are significant beginning with just 2 student accounts.

One suggestion I have is to make the Quick Table portion available separately at a smaller price than the whole program. My son really wanted to use these, but was able to as there wasn't a math program available at his level.

I would also echo my daughter's wish about a similiar type program for grammar and reading comprehension, as well.

ALEKS is a program which I will keep in mind as my children get older and need more challenging and intensive math instruction. My daughter really enjoyed the break from paper and pencil math.

Read what other Crew Members have to say here.

Disclaimer: I was given a free months access to the ALEKS program so that I could use it and write this review. I have not be compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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