StraightAce

App review by
Leslie Crenna, Common Sense Media
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Comprehensive, fee-based math program has some rough edges.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade mathematical concepts like ratios, fractions, negative numbers, geometry, graphing, representing data, square roots, irrational numbers, functions, and exponents. With a comprehensive curriculum at their fingertips, kids can see their star ratings on the topic menus and work at their own pace. Improved formatting and textual content would put StraightAce in a strong position in the subscription math app field.

Ease of Play

Navigation and menus are generally easy and clear, but text formatting needs lots of attention. 

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

The app is free to install, but cannot be used without a subscription, which is $14.99/month.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that StraightAce is a subscription middle-school math lesson and quiz program with a web-based dashboard for parents. Content is thorough, plentiful, and appropriate, and parents are able to monitor activity and achievements as well as respond to requests for help via a chat feature. On the flip side, lessons, quizzes, and explanations are sometimes disappointing due to textbooky language, formatting problems, and other inconsistencies. If your kid is used to this in school, then he or she may not be too put off. If math is a particular challenge for your kid, these problems might create even more frustration.

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What's it about?

Kids log in then choose from three grades and any of hundreds of topics. Kids can elect to study a lesson or launch right into a topic -- these are quizzes with about 10 questions. Kids can select buttons for a hint, virtual scratch paper, or to send a message to a parent via the website. If kids select an incorrect answer, an unhappy face spins into view along with a (sometimes empty) explanation field, the answer, percentage of students who got it right, and a button to see the question.

Is it any good?

STRAIGHTACE offers a comprehensive yet traditional middle-school curriculum with a modern wrapper. Hundreds of topics focus on sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade concepts like ratio, fractions, negative numbers, geometry, representing data, square roots, irrational numbers, and exponents. The StraightAce Link website allows parents to see kids' topics completed, number of questions answered, total time spent, lessons reviewed, and overall success. Menus and graphics are crisp, and navigation is mostly intuitive. Earned coins, a three-star system, and positive messages will encourage kids to keep trying.

Unfortunately, the lessons, questions, and explanations suffer from wordiness, occasional ambiguous descriptions, and technical, textbooky language, not to mention formatting problems like missing line breaks and varying font sizes. Chronically low global success percentages displayed after every question might be also be discouraging.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Try to monitor the StraightAce website messages tab when your kid is likely to be using the app.

  • Read the lesson, question, and explanation before attempting to help.

  • Be willing to say you don't know and help your kid find another resource.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Math: algebra, equations, fractions, functions, geometry, graphing, numbers, probability, ratio, statistics
  • Skills: Self-Direction: academic development, effort, self-assessment
    Communication: asking questions
    Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, deduction, hypothesis-testing, logic, memorization, part-whole relationships, problem solving
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Paid, Free
  • Subscription price: $8.99 for first month, $14.99 thereafter for each child
  • Release date: January 29, 2013
  • Category: Education
  • Size: 21.40 MB
  • Publisher: Benesse
  • Version: iOS 1.5.7; Android 1.4.6
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 5.0 or later; Android 2.2 and up

For kids who love math

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