Friday, May 1, 2015

REVIEW: Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan by A+ Interactive Math

I had the opportunity to have Haylee and Holden review the Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan by A+ Interactive Math.

 

WHAT IS IT?:

A+ Interactive Math offers both complete math programs as well as a program for closing learning gaps in math.  The Adaptive Placement Test and Individualized Lesson Plan program offers students the chance to check for comprehension in their current level of math to see if they’ve mastered concepts before moving on to the next level.  This is ideal for an end-of-the-school-year checkpoint so parents and students can feel confident that their children are ready to move on to new material.

The program is entirely online, and scoring is done automatically.  The chosen grade level is broken up into a series of mini-tests, and for each test the student does not pass, the program automatically generates an individualized lesson plan to help them cover the concepts that were included on those tests.  The student can then go and complete the lessons with instruction, and they can also go and complete worksheets either online with instant scoring or by printing them out.  When the student is ready, they can return and retake the test.

This program is available for just $29.99 for one student and $10 more for each additional student.  You’ll have access to the program for a period of 3 months.  You can take a look at a demo to see how it works.  You also have the ability to change the grade level at any time if you should decide the material is either too easy or too difficult for your student.

 

OUR EXPERIENCE:

I signed up my 10 year old daughter who is in 5th grade but finishing up 6th grade math as well as my 7 year old son who is in 1st grade but finishing up 2nd grade math.

DSCF4127I started with my son, Holden, first.  Each of the questions had a time limit, so I sat beside him and entered his answers as he gave them to me.  I had a pencil and paper handy so he could work the computation problems. 

He did a great job with his tests and thought it was easy and fun.  His only feedback was that he liked it and would like to do it every day.  Well, that was easy!  He has passed all of the tests so far with flying colors and has not needed to do any of the lesson plans as of yet.  That was fine with him!  He was happy just doing the tests, and he really liked getting that giant smiley face with the thumbs up that said he’d done a great job.

There was also a little progress bar you could look at that showed a little man running across the screen for each test and stopping at the point that indicated the child’s score for those tests, and there was a little red bar that showed the “goal” for a passing score.  Holden loved watching the little men run past that goal line!  He giggled as he watched it.

My daughter, Haylee, however, had different results.  She truly struggles with math, and it’s very challenging for her.  She is also not enthusiastic about doing it because it doesn’t keep easy for her.  She was the main reason I wanted to try the program out.  I wasn’t confident that she had grasped the 6th grade math material this year, and I wanted confirmation of that before finalizing my selection for math for our new sDSCF4128chool year. 

As it turned out, she did not pass the first test that she attempted, and she was really upset at having spent the time on it and not passing it.  The next day, we went to the individualized lesson plan, but she became overwhelmed there with how many lessons were generated by a single test.  I was a little disappointed that it seemed to just give lessons for all of the concepts on that test, whether her wrong answers were related to them or not.  I had hoped that it would truly be individualized and only give her lessons that pertained directly to her missed questions, but that didn’t seem to be the case.  I had her begin working through the lessons next.  It provided good instruction for the material, and there were some questions to answer to see if she understood what she learned.  Then we could go over to the worksheet section and do additional practice there.  She could complete it online with instant scoring, or she could print it out.  She chose to do the worksheets online.  There were a lot of questions, so it provided plenty of practice.

I tried to help her select a handful of the lessons to work on based on the questions she had missed so she wouldn’t have to work on material she already understood.  Seeing all of those lessons listed there really frustrated her, so if I could offer any productive feedback to the vendor, it would be that the individualized lesson plan should truly only reflect missed questions.  I did like how she could look at her missed questions and see what she had done wrong.

DSCF4202She wanted a break from the lessons, so I let her go on to the next test, but she did not pass that one, either.  Seeing yet another lengthy list of lessons, I realized she just hadn’t mastered this level of math, so I talked to her about shifting the test down to her actual grade level of 5th grade.  She realized this would erase all the work she had done and she’d have to start over, but she agreed that this would probably be best.  We were preparing for our spring standardized testing during the review period anyway, so I thought it would be good practice for the kind of math questions she’d be facing on that test.  After we switched grade levels, she was finally able to pass a test!  That really helped to build her confidence to see that big smiley face with the thumbs up at last!  As she moved on, there were some concepts identified that she needed to practice on, but she didn’t fail as miserably as she had on the 6th grade material.

So although she did not like working on this program, it was simply because she does not like doing math.  I had to make her do it, just as I have to make her do her math homework for school.  That’s all about her dislike of math in general and is not a reflection on the program at all.  Holden’s enthusiasm for it shows that clearly.  But I’m still glad that we worked on the program, because in the end, it did, in fact, confirm my own suspicions that Haylee is not ready to move on to new math material.  It was also good preparation for the standardized testing, which she felt she did well on this week.  As a result, I’ve decided to have her focus on an essential math skills program this next school year so she can firm up basic math concepts before moving on to pre-algebra material.  I do think, though, that the material in this program was a bit more difficult than the math program she was using, and I think that contributed to her inability to pass the tests.  But by switching the grade level as needed, I think we were still able to use it in a useful way.DSCF4203

Now that our standardized testing is behind us, I’ve also decided to have her continue working through the material in this program for 30 minutes/day for the remaining few weeks of school during her allotted math time.  I love that it is self-grading and provides all of the instruction she might need for any concepts that still give her pause.  And I love that I can log in as a parent and view each of the tests they’ve taken and actually review their responses so I can see for myself what areas caused them difficulty.  In some cases, I was able to go over the missed questions with Haylee and found that she just misunderstood the question or clicked the wrong answer but really did understand the concept and knew the correct answer, in which case I did not need to have her complete those lessons in the lesson plans.  So I was glad that I could look at the tests after the fact in this way.

Overall, I would say the program is useful for parents to see if their children have mastered math concepts and to fill in gaps in their learning, regardless of what math program they may have used that school year.  The ability to adjust the grade level as needed is great.  There were occasional glitches with the program, but I think the vendor was having some technical difficulties early in the review period that were resolved.  We did not see any problems after that.  This program could be a great tool for your students.  The one drawback for me was that I think the individualized lesson plans should have been more specific rather than generalized with each test.  I would encourage you to check out the demo and see if it could work for your family.

Take a look at what other Crew members had to say about this and other products by A+ Interactive Math by clicking the banner below.