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Hundreds of learning activities build skills and confidence.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn math and language arts skills that cover almost all the Common Core standards. Skill-practice activities are available stretching from pre-K to 12th grade for math and for grades 2 through 10 for language arts. Activity topics range from shapes and money all the way up to graphing equations, the Pythagorean theorem, alphabetizing, and Greek and Latin roots. IXL helps kids grow in academic skills and helps parents clearly track their own progress.

Violence & scariness
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Sexy stuff
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Users can access 20 questions per day for free, then need to register to gain full access. Paid membership required to access all website, app content.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that IXL is a comprehensive tool that provides math and language arts practice. Everyone can try the skill exercises for free, but they'll be limited to a small number of problems a day. You must be a member to get unlimited practice, tracking, awards, and certificates. Membership fees are $9.95/month or $79.95/year. Kids will need some guidance as to which math skills they should try. Parents can start with their kid's grade level, then use the reports tool to help identify which concepts to focus on. Pre-K and young kids will likely need support and verbal directions from a parent or teacher. Parents should note that an internet connection is required when using the app, and, to gain full access, an account must be created using an email address, a username, and a password. One account provides web and app access. The Android and Kindle versions only include the math curriculum. Both app and website versions of this title are available; our review references key points relevant to both.

What's it about?

IXL offers more than 4,000 practice modules on Common Core pre-K through precalculus math skills and on language arts skills for second- through 10th-graders. Kids repetitively practice one at a time, earning points, ribbons, and praise for correct answers, and they get step-by-step explanations for incorrect ones. Once kids reach 100 points for a skill, they earn a medal and a gameboard square. After registering on the developer's site, parents can access progress reports to evaluate kids' strengths and problem areas.

Is it any good?


This math and language site gives kids a chance to partake in independent practice and focus on areas where they need or want to improve. For example, at the sixth-grade level there are 292 types of math-skills-practice activities. Individual reports with item analysis, usage, and other information let parents get specific information to differentiate instruction for their child. The "Trouble Spot" report can be very useful in quickly identifying where kids are having a hard time and where they need extra help.

IXL's practice-and-drill approach may not thrill some kids. But the questions -- which range from basics such as counting to geometry's perpendicular bisector theorem and a range of grammar and vocabulary items -- offer a consistent progression; they increase in difficulty once kids reach the challenge mode. Kids also get detailed feedback if they answer incorrectly, along with the chance to continue with the same skill to try to apply what they've learned, which can greatly improve their comprehension of difficult concepts. Adding a virtual sketchpad and the ability to create student rosters directly in the app would be great. But overall, IXL is an impressive, comprehensive learning resource.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about ways to use the math skills they're practicing in the real world. When do we use addition in everyday life? How about algebra?

  • Talk to your kids about how practicing skills leads to confidence and accuracy. What is a skill you struggled to learn? How did you feel when you improved? What other skills would you like to improve?

Website details

Subjects:Language & Reading: reading, vocabulary, writing clearly
Math: addition, algebra, arithmetic, counting, division, equations, fractions, functions, geometry, graphing, grouping, measurement, money, multiplication, numbers, patterns, probability, ratio, sequences, shapes, statistics, subtraction
Skills:Self-Direction: work to achieve goals
Topics:Numbers and letters
Price:$249/year and up
Pricing structure:Free to Try, Paid

This review of IXL was written by

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Kid, 11 years old September 8, 2013

Do not try it! Will make your kid(s) cry!

Don't try it! If you make the teeniest mistake on IXL BOOM! You lose a LOT of points. It will make your kid(s) cry. I'm surprised you are giving it good reviews Common Sense Media. I'm in 6th grade and it made me cry.
Kid, 10 years old January 1, 2014

Ixl is NOT worth it!

I think ixl is not worth it! First of all, when you make it to the 70's or 80's, you earn 1 point and lose like 10 points. It helped me get good grades but it also wasted my time. I think Khan Academy is better than ixl. I would've rated ixl 2 stars if it wasn't so boring. My whole class are complaining about ixl. Also, 79 dollars or something for a year? I could use that money and add it to my savings for a new bike! Since i couldn't rate it 0 stars, i had to rate it one. Trust me, it is NOT FUN like it says on the advertisement. No offense, but ixl was the WORST learning website for me. I'm not trying to advertise Khan Academy here but if you want to learn, trust ME, ixl should be your last choice.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Teen, 14 years old Written byNeonNinja99 December 12, 2013

Don't use it.

Don't make your kids suffer through this online "Learning" website. It makes teens cry. It does NOT deserve positive reviews. I am assigned IXL homework in algebra and you barely get any points if you get the answer right and deducts a lot of points when you get just one wrong. I also know that when you get an answer wrong, the website gives you the right answer and explains how you messed up but it never applies to what you are actually learning to do. This website should not be used as an advanced learning tool, it is more like a mini torture device. It might be ok for small children but for the rest of us we all understand how badly your self-esteem can be crushed by something as simple as a website.