Website review by Emily Pohlonski, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2020

IXL

Immediate feedback and breadth a huge plus, despite emphasis on drills

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 84 reviews
Privacy rating
69%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
Pre-K–12
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies

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Pros: Helps students develop confidence and clearly track progress; teachers get immediate stats on their students' trouble spots.

Cons: Drilling limits opportunities for kids to apply skills in real-world ways, and questions include too-frequent repetition.

Bottom Line: Students can improve targeted skills with tons of practice modules and visually appealing tasks.

IXL provides class and individual reports with item analysis, usage, and trouble spots that allow parents and teachers to get the specific information they need to differentiate instruction for their kids. The standard Trouble Spot report is very useful for quickly identifying where students are having a hard time and which students need extra help. IXL offers a 45-minute Real-Time Diagnostic adaptive assessment tool. Results from this data and from skill practice provide a personalized Recommendations Wall for each student, listing future skills to practice.

Use this information to give students targeted practice. You can use IXL as one of several stations that include manipulatives, group whiteboard practice, and other applied methods that come at the same concept in different ways. You can also assign specific practice for home -- just be sure to keep it relatively short to avoid burnout. Build on the built-in rewards and amplify them in reports home to celebrate progress within the program. And make sure kids know about the audio support, translation feature, and handwriting recognition so that all students get the support they need.

 

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IXL is a website (with app versions for Chrome, iOS, and Android) with thousands of math, language, social studies, science, and Spanish practice questions and modules that meet nearly all the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for K-12 and some of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for grades 2-8. You'll find games covering the fundamentals through subject-specific high school lessons.

Math lessons cover pre-K to 12th grade and include questions such as comparing fractions using real recipes, classifying a system of equations, and graphing two equations by dragging points. Language arts practice -- again, pre-K to 12th grade -- focuses on grammar and vocabulary skills. Science and social studies each cover second through eighth grade topics. Spanish learners can complete Level 1 of the language.

Students practice one skill at a time and earn points and ribbons when they get questions correct. Once they reach 100 points for a skill, kids earn a stamp in their book, encouraging them to master other skills to earn virtual prizes. Practice sessions are timed. Questions within a section are often very repetitive, but students looking for variety can jump around from topic to topic under the Recommendations section. Audio support, handwriting recognition, and Spanish-language content make the content accessible to more students.

The targeted activities in IXL -- pretty much drill-and-practice in format and approach -- can provide extensive opportunities for independent practice. Unlike many sites where students do drills, though, IXL gives feedback on how to get better. Incorrect answers are explained thoroughly with written explanations and examples, though not all come with audio support. 

IXL does not provide the video tutorials to help kids understand that are included in similar tools such as i-Ready. However, students can select "Learn with an example" with worked-out solutions, if they are stuck on an IXL skill. IXL does give kids more choice and flexibility about the order and types of skills they are practicing. While it's unlikely you'll have students clamoring to use IXL, its breadth of content and targeted practice cover a lot of ground and help teachers differentiate more effectively.

Overall Rating

Engagement

When it comes to drill and practice, there's a limit to the fun factor. However, IXL makes a good effort through rewards, immediate feedback, and visually appealing tasks.

Pedagogy

Practice, practice, practice builds confidence and accuracy, though repetition won't encourage critical thinking. Students do have some say in what to work on next, however.

Support

Students get detailed support and tips when they get a problem wrong. Some content has microphone icons that read a problem out loud. Curriculum is aligned to CCSS, the NGSS, and other state standards.


Common Sense reviewer
Emily Pohlonski Classroom teacher

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Kristen Z. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Marshall Elementary School
Wexford, United States
Exciting and Engaging Way to Bring the Core into the Classroom
I love this product as a teaching tool so much. I am contemplating buying it with my own money, which is how much I believe this tool would help students and meet their needs under the core state standards. This is something that can be done whole class, but the individual diagnostics would really help drive instruction and help teachers to understand student misconceptions.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Unclear whether users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
Users can control their information through privacy settings.
Users can create or upload content.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Unclear whether data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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