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What is IXL and How Does it Work?

(Image credit: IXL)

The IXL platform is a personalized learning space that covers the K-12 curriculum and is used by more than 12 million students.

IXL offers more than 8,500 skills in math, English language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish. By using a curriculum base, actionable analytics, real-time diagnostic and personalized guidance, educators are given the tools to help students target specific learning goals.

The 'immersive learning experience', as it's described, has so far answered more than 86 billion questions worldwide. You can even view a counter of this number on the IXL website, which is going up at about 1,000 questions per second.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about IXL.

What is IXL?

IXL, at its most basic, is a targeted learning tool. It offers experiences for students, tailored to their age group and specific subject and topic. By offering analytics and recommendations, it is able to help support teaching and learning with a very focused outcome.


(Image credit: IXL)

IXL is web-based but also has apps for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Chrome. Whatever way you get to it, there are nearly all the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) covered for K-12, plus some Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for grades 2 to 8. 

While there are plenty of high school subject-specific lessons, in game form, you also have access to games that focus on the fundamentals too. 

Both math and language arts cover pre-K right up to grade 12. The math side offers equations, graphing, and fraction comparisons while the language work focuses on grammar and vocabulary skills.

Science and social studies each cover second- through eighth-grade topics while Spanish offers Level 1 learning.

How does IXL work?

IXL works by offering skills that students practice, one at a time, earning them points and ribbons when they get questions correct. Once 100 points are collected for a certain skill, they are awarded a stamp in their virtual book. Once multiple skills are mastered, they can earn virtual prizes. The SmartScore goal, as it's known, helps keep students focused and working toward a target.

The SmartScore adapts based on difficulty, so it's not discouraging to get something wrong but rather adaptive to help each student progress to the next level of difficulty suited to them.


(Image credit: IXL)

There are lots of drill-and-practice options that allow for independent work, making this a great option for remote learning and homework-based schooling. Since IXL offers lots of feedback, it's possible to help students improve very rapidly with specific, targeted training. 

Teachers can recommend or assign specific skills to students. They're given a code that they can type in then they're taken to those skills. Before starting, students can select "learn with an example" to see how the skill works, showing them how to solve a problem. They can then begin practicing at their own pace. The SmartSkill score is always viewable to the right, going up and down as correct and wrong answers are entered. 

What are the best IXL features?

IXL is smart, so it can learn what a student needs to work on and offer new experiences to suit their needs. The built-in real-time diagnostic evaluates learners on a deep level to work out their exact proficiency level in any subject. This then creates a personalized action plan that can be used to guide each student so they're working on the best possible growth path.

If stuck during a skill, it's possible to scroll to the bottom where other skills are listed, which can help to build up knowledge and understanding so the student can better take on the skill at hand. 

Recommendations work as a way to pick up skills that may help fill-in blank areas in which students could benefit from expanding their knowledge and skills. This is a great way to work using the app, anywhere and anytime, to help students learn independently while still being focused on curriculum-specific goals.

The analytics from all this student-specific data can be used by teachers, clearly laid out, as a way to help them see where students need to focus. This shows both parents and teachers where the student is having trouble and how prepared they are to meet learning standards. For teachers, there are both class and individual reports with item analysis, usage, and trouble spots shown.

How much does IXL cost?

Pricing for IXL is widely varied depending on what is being sought. The below are prices per family, however, children, schools, and districts can apply for a specific quote that may represent savings.

A single subject membership is charged at $9.95 per month or $79 annually. 

Go for the combo package, with math and language arts, and you'll be paying $15.95 per month or $129 yearly.

Core subjects all included, with math language arts, science, and social studies, cost $19.95 per month or $159 annually.