The last few weeks my 2nd grader has been trying out Adaptive Math Curriculum Online from A+ Interactive Math (by A+ TutorSoft Inc.). We’ve explored it thoroughly and now I will share my thoughts with you.
What Adaptive Math Curriculum Is
Adaptive Math Curriculum Online is an online subscription that tests a child in different areas of math to determine if they have any learning gaps in their current grade.
Once any learning gaps are determined, an individualized learning plan will be created for the student. The individualized learning plan is video lessons for the areas the student had trouble with in the test. After a video lesson, online practice questions are available.
It’s not meant to replace the math curriculum you have chosen for your child. It’s meant to help identify any gaps your child has and help fill them.
After a test is taken, the program will show whether the student has mastered the concept for their grade level, or if there are some gaps they need to work on.
You can test as many or as few concepts at a time as desired, in whichever order you wish. And the student doesn’t need to complete all the tests before beginning the lesson plan. After the first concept tested that is found to have some learning gaps, they can begin working through their individualized lesson plan.
The individual lesson plan will contain video like tutorials of the skills the student needs to work on.
After completing a video lesson, the student can go to the “Interactive Q&A” part where they can practice the skill learned by answering math questions.
The questions in the Interactive Q & A are read to the child. After they answer the question, if it is incorrect, there is a video tutorial explaining to the child how to answer the question correctly. It feels a bit like having an online math tutor.
My Opinion Of Adaptive Math Curriculum
So after having my daughter use the program for several weeks, both my daughter and I decided it was not a good program for us, and it’s not a program that I would generally recommend.
I liked the idea of testing a child’s math skills so they can work on only the skills needed. And I liked that we could work on the math concepts in whichever order desired.
But there were a few things I didn’t like:
I would have preferred there be an option for the test questions to be read to the child if they needed that help. Obviously this would be less of an issue the older the child is, or if the child is a proficient reader. My Grade 2 daughter could read most of it, but some words were an issue.
Another thing I found a bit frustrating was that you couldn’t tell how many questions were left in a test, or how long a video lesson was. I understand the test was adaptive and would shorten if the child wasn’t getting the answers correct. But for a 7 year old to sit at a desk and do school work, I find it helps when they have an idea of how much they still have to complete. The unknown can make it seem endless at times. If the child is told, only 3 questions left, or can see how far along they are, they’re more motivated to just get it done.
Also, I am really careful to try and keep math fun and enjoyable for my daughter or at least not a negative experience. I would hate for her to grow up saying she hates math. So her learning experience is very important to me and I’m quite picky when it comes to her math curriculum.
My daughter did not enjoy this adaptive math program. During the video lessons she would get much too easily distracted and would tune out of them, more or less putting in her time of sitting through them. And some of the test questions just frustrated her. For example, here is one question:
She is not capable to answer this just by looking at it. To solve, she needs to write the question on a paper, first. So after realizing she would need a paper and pencil, scrambling to get them, then struggling to rush trying to write the numbers properly underneath each other, her 2 minute time to answer the question were up before she could complete it. This happened several times with her getting increasingly frustrated with each unanswered question.
The math skills for a second grader to master with Adaptive Math Curriculum were somewhat different than the math skills a 2nd grader would learn in my local area or in the math curriculum my daughter is learning from. For example, in our area, and in my daughter’s curriculum, multiplication and division is not really taught until the 3rd grade. In grade 2, multiplication is introduced, but learning actual times tables is not started until Grade 3.
Another issue I found is that I did not feel my daughter’s test results always accurately portrayed her math level.
Since I have been my daughter’s math teacher since birth, I know where her strength’s and weaknesses are and where she’s at math wise. Her strengths include bar graphs, fractions and geometry. But it tested her at having a lot to work on in these areas.
It was surprising so I went back and reviewed the questions and how my daughter answered to see where the discrepancy was. A couple times, the question caused some confusion, the way it was worded, or not clear enough. As the tests are adaptive, if the student experiences difficulty, it seems to end the test pretty shortly after.
So for fractions, my daughter can add and subtract fractions, but she forgot the term numerator and denominator and answered questions about the numerator and denominator incorrectly. So that’s a good gap for me to be aware of. But the problem is the first 4 questions were about the numerator and denominator, so having got these first 4 Grade 1 level questions incorrect, the remaining questions were kept at a lower level and the test ended shortly after.
OK no problem, seeing the issue, we filled this gap and my daughter was anxious to retake the test to have it more accurately represent her level in fractions.
The 2nd time tested, we were again surprised that the visual representation of the little man was still very far away from the goal line. (You can see this in the second image from the top).
Puzzled, I again checked the test. My daughter answered the first 13 questions correctly. But then the questions were about fraction equations. My daughter has not learned equations yet as this requires a knowledge of multiplication, which as I mentioned in #4 above, is not taught until third grade in my local area.
So in conclusion, I felt Adaptive Math Curriculum Online wasn’t a good fit for our family, as we’ve been homeschooling for a while, and I am quite aware of where my daughter is math wise.
However, I feel it would be a good choice for a student who is about to or has recently begun to homeschool. This would allow the parents to get a good idea of where their child was at, what they need to work on with their student, and where the math gaps are.
Or if a child is struggling in school and the parent wants to help them at home, this might be a good option to see where they need the help.
A+ Interactive Math (by A+ TutorSoft Inc. also has a family math package that is a full online math curriculum. I have never tried it myself, but it’s an option to consider.