Mastering High School Math with IXL
When Alicia Granger’s high school math students started the 2021-22 school year, many of them were starting from behind after two interrupted school years. To help them succeed in Algebra II, Statistics, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus, she turned to IXL Math.
IXL gives Alicia’s students the targeted instruction and practice they need to fill in skill gaps and tackle higher-level math concepts. Some students jumped a full grade level in the first semester.
The Challenge: Making Up for Lost Time
Logan View Public Schools is a small rural district in Nebraska. With just 300 students across grades 7-12, Logan View Junior/Senior High School is a tight-knit community. Like students across the country, many of Alicia’s high school math students started the 2021-22 school year with significant skill gaps. Alicia explains, “They lost about 1,000 minutes of direct instruction last year. We had to figure out what we were going to do to raise them back to grade level.”
Alicia, who is the chair for the math department, brought IXL to her principal for consideration after a trial with 7th- and 8th-graders demonstrated positive results during hybrid learning. Alicia says, “Once we showed how the IXL Diagnostic lets us pinpoint the needs of every student, it was a no-brainer. She approved it right away for all of our students, 7 through 12.”
Targeted Support for Standards-Based Instruction
IXL Math gives Alicia’s students the targeted support they need to catch up on missing skills and to succeed in higher-level math courses. She teaches two sections of Algebra II, and one class each for Statistics, Pre-calculus, and Calculus.
All of Alicia’s students took the IXL Real-Time Diagnostic at the beginning of the school year. The diagnostic allowed Alicia to pinpoint exactly where students were in their skill development. In her Algebra II courses, only a handful of students were at grade level at the beginning of the year; many students were two or more grade levels behind.
With IXL, Alicia can assign skills directly aligned to her standards-based instruction. She spends two to three days on each topic. On day one, she introduces the topic through direct instruction and assigns IXL skills aligned with the standards she is teaching for homework. She often uses Group Jam in class, which allows all students to work on the same problem at the same time. Alicia says, “I love the Group Jams because I can see instantly who is getting it and who is struggling. I can also put the problem up on the board for the class to work together. I always give them the option of working either in IXL or in pencil-and-paper, and I’m amazed at how many choose IXL.”
Students also work individually in IXL one day each week to update their Real-Time Diagnostic levels. Then, they work on their personalized action plan of skills that are recommended by the diagnostic. Many students continue working on recommended skills at home, too. The individualized practice and instruction help them fill in skill gaps from prior grades and reinforce grade-level skills. Alicia encourages her students to find time to work in IXL outside of class, even if it’s 10 minutes on their phone on the bus ride home.
The IXL Effect: Accelerating Achievement
Alicia’s students demonstrated strong progress in the first semester, with some showing Real-Time Diagnostic growth of 100 points or more (equivalent to a full grade level of growth) as of February 2022. One student grew a full 300 points.
Alicia says that growth rates are directly tied to the time students spend in IXL. “Those who spend more time on IXL outside of class and are really going above and beyond have made the greatest gains. They are also getting higher test scores,” she says.
IXL makes life a lot easier for Alicia as a teacher. She doesn’t have homework to grade, and it’s easy to assign skills in IXL directly aligned to the standards she is teaching. IXL also facilitates conversations with parents because she has the data in IXL Analytics to show exactly what students are learning, where they could use some extra help and practice, and what they are ready to learn next.
Students have responded positively, too. Alicia uses contests and incentives to get students excited about their progress in IXL. Her juniors are now using IXL Math to prepare for the ACT; using IXL’s personalized ACT study plans, they can easily see exactly which skills they need to work on to improve their scores. “My students are really seeing the benefits of IXL,” Alicia says. “It’s well worth it. It makes things easy for the kids and for me.”