Teacher Review for IXL: Language Arts -- Sixth-grade skills

Useful grammar practice tool that gives thorough feedback for incorrect responses

Andy T.
Classroom teacher
The Hamlin School
San Francisco, CA, United States
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My Subjects English Language Arts
My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Homework
Knowledge gain
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
How I Use It
My students use IXL Grammar to practice specific grammar skills for homework. IXL gives students a range of multiple choice questions on any given topic (e.g. identifying adjectives, differentiating between dependent and independent clauses, subject/predicate, comma use). The student's "Smart Score" shows their progress (correct answers increase the score; incorrect answers lower it). The biggest advantage of IXL over other grammar practice resources and curriculum is that when students make a mistake, they receive a detailed analysis of 1) why the right answer was right 2) why the wrong answer was wrong and 3) a review of the mini-lesson that will help students master the skill. By providing the error analysis, students can actually learn from their mistakes and move toward mastery. Students are naturally engaged using IXL because of the interactive format and the fact that they can see their score rising as they progress. The only problem I have run across so far is that the while students are awarded a few points for a right answer (and even fewer as they approach the mastery level), their scores drop quickly when they get an answer wrong. Some students get discouraged by this drop and need to be reminded that further practice will get them to master levels.
My Take
IXL is great as a homework assignment to practice grammar skills introduced in class. It is engaging, adapts to students' performance levels, and goes beyond mere multiple choice as an assessment tool. While they do offer mini-lessons on a variety of topics, they are best viewed as review and as a supplement to in-class direct instruction/mini-lessons. IXL could serve kids better if it continued to offer more practice on a topic after students master a topic. (It seems that right now they get a lot of repeat questions once they reach a Smart Score of 100.)