Solid adaptive instruction in reading and math, with data at the ready

Learning rating

Community rating

Based on 44 reviews

Privacy rating

Expert evaluation by Common Sense



Subjects & Skills

Critical Thinking, English Language Arts, Math

Great for

Assessment, Differentiation, Instructional Design

Price: Paid
Platforms: Web

Pros: It's a one-stop shop for deep, well-organized, CCSS or state standard data collection and differentiated instruction in math and literacy.

Cons: Teachers who overuse online instruction may cause student burnout; the developers recommend 45 minutes per subject per week.

Bottom Line: Quality, responsive instruction and the deep dive into data make this a strong contender for classrooms.

It's best to use i-Ready to gather data on your students that will be helpful as you differentiate the instruction in your class. The deep dive into data can help savvy teachers target instruction, build intervention groups, and track their instruction effectiveness. Consider using i-Ready to fill in gaps in students' learning or even push some learners to the next level. i-Ready will suggest up to five groupings for your class and provide instructional ideas and suggestions.

Depending on your classroom setup, you could use an i-Ready station where students rotate through while others work on activities and conferences with you. Have your students use the reports to reflect on their learning and set goals. These reports could also be helpful when meeting with parents. Keep in mind that you could also use individual i-Ready lessons projected for the whole class as part of your instruction around a topic.

A significant issue around programs like i-Ready is when they're overused. Student and teacher burnout on adaptive programs like i-Ready can be a problem. When this happens, its usefulness as an instructional and assessment tool is significantly diminished. i-Ready wasn't developed to replace teacher instruction or an already established curriculum; it's meant to be used as a supplement to teaching. The developers recommend 45 minutes per subject per week, which is best split into two or three sessions, though a teacher may need to adjust this to keep i-Ready effective. 

i-Ready is a set of Common Core State Standards-based (or state standards, for non-CCSS states) diagnostic and instructional tools for math and reading. Upon starting the program, students take an adaptive placement test. i-Ready then uses this data to create individualized instructional pathways for each student. Teachers can let i-Ready personalize instruction on its own, or they can customize the experience for individual students, groups of students, or even an entire class. Teachers can expect to have fine-grain control over the lessons taught and the overall scope and sequence for their students. Additionally, i-Ready offers teachers a range of diagnostic reports. Data is provided on growth, performance, instructional progress, and more. i-Ready will provide suggested live instruction activities, groups, and lessons. Teachers should closely monitor student work on i-Ready to make sure its algorithms respond appropriately to students' needs.

After students finish the diagnostic test, their experience is friendly. The program includes a simplified dashboard where students can pick a theme and a coach and even have learning material read to them. Each lesson includes a diverse cast of animated characters that walk students through every task. Lessons start with an overview of the learning objectives, followed by a guided learning experience. Kids can review lessons at any point but won't be able to skip ahead. In math, many tasks are aimed at helping kids develop conceptual understanding across a range of topics. In the reading program, students will read with the aid of a notepad, a dictionary, and some annotation tools. The review sample provided by i-Ready uses authentic texts, and math concepts are presented in real-world contexts. There's also closed captioning and some Spanish content. In the games section, teachers might recognize what were formerly Motion Math apps.

i-Ready is a great bet for an adaptive, supplemental learning tool. Its main strength lies in diagnosing students' needs, and then targeting personalized practice and instruction for each individual. Teachers' ability to further personalize and customize the experience is key here, whether for individual students, groups, or an entire class. As students work their way through lessons, they'll interact with animations every few minutes. This could help some kids maintain focus, though others could tire and want to get on with the lesson. Throughout, the instant feedback to students is helpful and includes both audio and visual supports. i-Ready's question types align well with what kids might encounter on Common Core or state assessments. It's reasonable to see i-Ready as a test-prep solution, though it does aim to teach conceptual understanding. Nevertheless, teachers should not rely on i-Ready to meet every instructional need their students have. 

The program offers teachers a comprehensive look at student data, giving a clear view of students' overall growth and achievement. Ideally, this will help teachers plan in a way that meets real classroom needs. Printable lesson plans are available, should teachers want them. Also, the system's reports offer a range of data. i-Ready clearly has spent some time making this data organized and easily accessible for teachers, allowing them to find the information they want. Overall, i-Ready delivers learning content engagingly and rigorously. This combination will likely serve kids well if -- and here's the catch -- teachers use i-Ready with fidelity alongside their own quality classroom instruction.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating

In small doses -- no more than 45 minutes per subject per week -- students will likely enjoy some of the activities and stories, though they can feel repetitive.


i-Ready adapts to student progress and offers a comprehensive way to address math and literacy skills. Reports provide actionable data, enabling teachers to decide on next steps for students.


It has modeling and accessible feedback for each task, and help on each screen. Teachers are provided with lesson plans and suggested student groupings. There's also closed captioning and some content in Spanish.

Common Sense reviewer
Shaun Langevin
Shaun Langevin Technology coordinator

Community Rating

Not a good program for most elementary students

The lessons are very focused on exploratory learning, not explicit learning with gradual release or modeling (I do, you do, y'all do, you do). The students are expected to jump in and do problems without the gradual instruction pattern. The materials the teachers have and what the students have on their books are not always the same, so it is hard for the students to follow along and the teachers to find what the students have in their books. The books don't have visuals, pictures, or models besides the base ten blocks. It is not interesting to the students and does not provide visual learning like other programs do. The students struggle to connect with the math and stay focused on the lesson. It doesn't encourage real-world application of math. There are very few word problems, so it doesn't prepare students for real life, or allow them to connect to the math. The problems and slides flow together without much structure or compartmentalization, so it is confusing for the students. Very little of the trainings from the i-Ready company I received as a teacher were helpful. They never modeled how the material should be taught. They did not lay out the material or lessons in a straight-forward way. In the program, there is a firehose of information and the teacher needs to sift through all the materials to find what is helpful to the instruction.

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Privacy Rating

Data Safety How safe is this product?

  • Users cannot interact with trusted users.
  • Users cannot interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
  • Profile information must be not shared for social interactions.

Data Rights What rights do I have to the data?

  • Users can create or upload content.
  • Users retain ownership of their data.
  • Processes to access or review user data are available.

Ads & Tracking Are there advertisements or tracking?

  • Personal information is not shared for third-party marketing.
  • Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
  • Personalised advertising is not displayed.

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