What parents need to know
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.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- part-whole relationships
- problem solving
- applying information
- academic development
- asking questions
Engagement, Approach, Support
Graphics are solid, but the extensive menus could use a third layer or tighter formatting, and the avatars are a bit weak. Encouraging phrases, stars, and coins will keep some kids interested.
Quizzes are responsive, offering immediate access to the correct answer, occasional explanations, original lesson, and view of question when missed, allowing for some depth of learning.
Access to performance data on the website boosts parental connection. Kids can send parents messages to ask for help. Overall accessibility is lowered dramatically by the traditional presentation.
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.
Families can talk 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.
|Devices:||iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android|
|Pricing structure:||Free, Paid|
|Subscription price:||$8.99 for first month, $14.99 thereafter for each child|
|Release date:||January 29, 2013|
|Version:||iOS 1.5.7; Android 1.4.6|
|Minimum software requirements:||iOS 5.0 or later; Android 2.2 and up|