Review by Jason Shiroff, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2017


Comprehensive math practice provides teachers with actionable data

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: With built-in hints and constant progress monitoring, students feel supported through each lesson.

Cons: Problems are lengthy and text-heavy, and don't provide built-in audio support for students.

Bottom Line: MATHia's polished, highly adaptive design and clear, actionable data help it stand out in a crowded field of math websites.

MATHia works best as a supplement to classroom instruction and is more effective if students enter with an understanding of the math concepts already. Teachers can use MATHia to give students more practice on what they're working on in class. It can be assigned instead of paper worksheets or in addition to other classwork. MATHia could be used for homework and is a great way for students to practice for standardized computer-based tests.

MATHia is ideal in a hybrid classroom where some students work online and others meet with a teacher. Teachers can track student progress carefully, and the data can be used to plan small-group instruction or individual conferences. The details provided by the progress bar are perfect conversation starters for struggling students.

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MATHia is a sixth-grade through pre-algebra math platform that aligns closely with the Common Core State Standards. It's designed to be used alongside Carnegie Learning's math curriculum or other math curricula. Teachers set up classes and can choose to follow the predetermined scope and sequence or design their own pathways. Detailed reports are provided for teachers, including standards mastery and growth data. However, no school-level reports are available yet. Seven modules are provided for each grade level, and each session takes at least 30 minutes to complete.

MATHia includes two types of problems: mastery and non-mastery. The non-mastery problems are used to preview or review a topic and aren't adaptive. The mastery-based problems are adaptive and require students to reach a high level of conceptual understanding before moving on. The student dashboard provides a look at progress, time on task, and upcoming work. Unit overviews include a list of vocabulary, major math concepts covered, and a short video explaining how the math connects to real-life situations. Once students begin a problem, MATHia provides instant feedback on each step of the progress. Hints will pop up to address misconceptions, and students can also ask for a hint at any time. A highly detailed tracking bar advances and retreats based on how accurately the questions are answered. The progress bar breaks the task down into smaller steps in the process, such as naming units, identifying variables correctly, and so on.

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MATHia is a great tool for supporting young mathematicians. From a student perspective, it's easy to use and has few distractions. The math problems are rigorous and usually involve multiple ways to model thinking. Hints pop up automatically if students are stuck, but students won't make progress if they use too many hints or try to guess their way through the system. Teachers and students can use the progress bar to see exactly where they're succeeding and what needs more practice. MATHia won't let students proceed to another unit until mastery is reached on the progress bar. This means that some students may reach mastery after a few problems, while other students will be required to complete more problems to show mastery. This is excellent for learning but may prove frustrating to some learners. 

Unlike Khan Academy, MATHia doesn't let students freely explore other topics, nor do students earn as many badges. By itself, MATHia doesn't provide text-to-speech support, but it does play well with the Read&Write Chrome extension. While it's an excellent tool for practicing and gaining mastery of math concepts, MATHia could be even better if teachers could easily assign individual students customized pathways.

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Overall Rating

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

The clean no-nonsense design helps users stay focused on the math, and the interactive, real-life models and graphs are appealing. Math problems tend to be text-heavy, which may be hard for some students to access.

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

MATHia successfully balances practice and conceptual understanding. Instant feedback, sample problems, and hints support a variety of learning needs. A dynamic progress bar provides a detailed look at successes and struggles.

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

The website provides many ways to support struggling users, including hints, a step-by-step problem-solving tool, a glossary, color coding, and sample problems. It's very hard for students to guess their way through a lesson.

Common Sense Reviewer
Jason Shiroff Classroom teacher

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