Monday, February 1, 2010

Math Score

This review is going to be a little different than my usual format.  I try to stay really organized and give you all the pertinent details in a pretty standardized fashion when I review a new item, but this time I did this a little differently.  I was given a complimentary review of MathScore, an on-line math curriculum, in order to give you this review.  When I logged onto MathScore I spent a lot of time doing problems and completing tasks.  As I was completing different on-line worksheets, I logged some of my responses to this program below.  As a result, this review may seem a little "all over the place."  Please bear with me, I'll summarize at the end.


Getting logged into MathScore is a piece of cake.  They offer a free trial version, which you know I love!  I love that you can try something out for a while before committing to using it regularly.  And, if after your two-week free trial, you decide to subscribe to MathScore, then there is a discount available on their web site.  You can contact MathScore here for more information. 


There were a lot of things that I loved and a few things that I didn't like about math score.  I'll give you my overall rating before you read the details.  MathScore is a no-frills on-line math site that gets a lot of stuff right.  It is easy for a parent to use and get detailed information of what the child has completed.  It is easy for a child to use and know how to complete and accomplish goals.  Although there are few bells whistles and graphics, advancing through the program is not complicated.  This is a solid program, but not one your child will be excited to use because it's not like playing a video game.  And now, on to my random comments about MathScore.


When a student takes a test he is told after each section whether he is right or wrong.  If he is wrong, or mostly wrong, he gets the option of trying again!  I LOVE that!  I am a firm believer that a child should have numerous tries at success especially in math.


With any on-line math program, it's difficult to do more complicated math problems.  For instance, when multiplying a 3-digit problem by a 3-digit problem there is no room to work on the screen, so you have to do the work on a piece of paper and just type the answer on the screen.


This would be a great program for mastering multiplication tables, or addition facts.  Any of the basic facts are routinely drilled and drilled-well using MathScore.  Doing this drill work is difficult on a laptop if you don't have a number pad.  But what's great is that there is drill work to do to help you master the number keys and the tab button even before you work on the math drills.  So if your child or student spends time doing the copy cat and copy cat preparation drills  to learn how to enter numbers and use the tab button to maneuver through the screen and do the timed drills much quicker.


This is not a highly graphic program.  But the explanations are clear and consise.   Our 11 year old was sitting beside me when I was testing this and he said, "It looks boring."  He said this because there isn't a clown telling you how to do the next problem, or a skateboard going over a ramp when you answer correctly.  There is a reward system for answering correctly which will provide incentive for the student but it is not graphic intensive.  There are always sentences that are written in a very encouraging language to incite the student to keep scoring well and the student earns badges to move him or her to different levels.


The parent's pages are excellent.  You can easily see your children's progress.  You can see what's correct and what's not.  You can see how much time is spent per subject and where a child needs more work.  If you look on the test results page, there is even a list of recommended subject to review with the student.  Other programs we've reviewed have not been nearly as easy to use from the parental perspective.  And, to my surprise, I woke up the day after beginning to review MathScore and there was a summary of the student's work in my in-box.  All I could think was that these emails would be perfect to use for our year-end portfolio! 


So, MathScore is pretty great.  If you go to this page you will find information to get started on your free-trial, and the subscription prices available.  If you are looking for something with lots of graphic intensity or the equivalent of a video game, you are not looking for MathScore.  But it you want a sound math program that does a fantastic job of communicating with you as a parent on your child's progress, check out MathScore.

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