Reviewed by Alpha: IXL

November 18, 2019

Alpha had great success last year with IXL, a test prep software application that provides instruction in Math, English, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish.

IXL provides personalized learning with a comprehensive K-12 curriculum, individualized guidance, and real-time analytics. For the most part, the app meets the unique needs of each learner.

We expect improved results at Alpha from the use of the software for the 2019–2020 academic year. However, the app has a few pitfalls to note.

What We Love About IXL:
IXL uses a mastery-based model that has three zones:

  • The Learning Zone (0–80% SmartScore)
  • The Proficiency Zone (80–90% SmartScore)
  • The Challenge Zone (90–100% SmartScore)

To complete each zone, the student need to answer 1 to 15 questions correctly. These questions adjust in difficulty as they are answered correctly until they reach a 100% SmartScore. The adaptive nature of this feature suits our students well.

What We Don’t Love About IXL:

  • A student Tool Kit is not included. The app lacks a conversion chart, calculator, video explanations, and glossary.
  • Students can complete topics in any order with no suggested sequencing. Oftentimes, this leads students to complete topics out of order and miss foundational concepts.
  • Similar to a textbook, questions and explanations are delivered as long bodies of text with the occasional image or matching section. This style of presenting information does not align well the Alpha model.

While we are satisfied with the academic outcome IXL yields, we cannot overlook the necessity for an app that is more engaging and adaptive. We hope that IXL creates updates soon to match the mastery motivation of its students.