Review by Emily Pohlonski, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2018

Albert

Flexible, interactive test-prep practice for high school and beyond

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science

Skills
  • College & Career Prep
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
9–12
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5 images

Pros: AP and IB teachers will love the clearly targeted and complex questions to help their students improve.

Cons: Some dull multiple-choice questions and confusing images.

Bottom Line: A variety of question types and on-the-spot analytics help teachers individualize test-prep practice.

Albert is best used as part of a comprehensive and ongoing system of formative assessment in the classroom. Teachers can create quick exit tickets that students can answer at the end of class or at night for homework. Albert can also be used to create larger summative assessments; customized assignments allow users to control the size and scope of tasks. When used to individualize instruction, Albert allows struggling learners -- and those ready to move on -- an independent platform for working at a different pace than the rest of the class. Albert works seamlessly with Google Classroom, making it simple to add students and share assignments. Teachers without Google Classroom can share links to tasks using their online course platform.

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Albert offers individualized high school and undergraduate questions for test prep, core subjects, world languages, and more. Individual students can purchase and self-study in pre-built test-prep courses for Advanced Placement (AP), SAT, ACT, and graduate exams such as the MCAT. Alternatively, teachers can select and build assessments from standards-aligned practice items for AP, Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), SAT, or ACT. 

Students can answer a broad range of question types, including drop-down menus, multiple choice, highlighting passages, text entry, and more. Students may be asked to examine multiple sources of evidence and determine if statements are supported or refuted based on the evidence provided. After students complete a question, they can reveal solutions to see if their answers are correct. Even after getting an answer correct, students are provided with a more detailed explanation of the concept.

Many of the interactive items in Albert mirror the same question types frequently appearing on online assessment systems for CCSS and the NGSS. In each item, students are provided with an interesting phenomenon to figure out; students are asked to use their conceptual understanding to interpret actual historical or scientific text or data about the phenomenon. Albert is easy to use and provides teachers on-the-spot analytics about how their students are doing. It's flexible enough to allow teachers to create custom assignments from the item bank, controlling due dates and when the answers will be released. 

Not all questions are spectacular –- some are pretty straightforward multiple-choice items. Periodically, images used in the prompt aren't available, and many times the images provided have nothing to do with the question. In one question, Albert presents a fascinating phenomenon about genetic chimera, showing a picture of a chimeric mouse. Then the item jumps into a question about humans and chimeric blood types; it would be less confusing and more engaging if the item was about the mouse.

 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

At its core, Albert is a test bank, and kids don't think tests are fun. However, the questions can be engaging as kids are asked to apply their knowledge to interesting phenomena.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Ongoing formative assessment with immediate feedback allows kids to clarify key ideas and track their own progress over time. Items move beyond rote memorization to using knowledge.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Video tutorials help teachers set up assignments, and ongoing feedback supports students as they practice. The elimination tool lets kids remove multiple-choice options they know aren't correct.


Common Sense Reviewer
Emily Pohlonski Classroom teacher

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