Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crew Review: K5 Learning

What is this?
K5 Learning is an online reading and math enrichment program for kids in kindergarten through grade 5.  After completing both reading and math assessments, the program will personalize a reading and math curriculum with over  3,000 {!!} interactive multimedia tutorials and activities.     It includes a complete math and reading curriculum for grades K through 5 {there is some content that is planned in the near future for those 5th graders who are working above grade level;  however, the creators of K5 Learning do not recommend the program for students above grade 5}.

It also includes spelling and math facts.

You can take a video tour of K5 here.  They have an extensive collection of video helps in the Help Center

You can purchase K5 on a monthly or annual basis:
  • First Child:            $25 per month         $199 per year
  • Additional Child:  $15 per month         $129 per year
You can sign up for a free reading and math assessment {included in the free two-week trial}.

How it works:
After you register for K5, you can have your children take the assessment.  The math assessment has three parts:  numbers and operations, measurement, and geometry.  The reading assessment looks at five key areas for reading success:  phonological awareness, phonics, sight words, vocabulary and reading comprehension.  {Fourth grade students and above are not assessed on phonological awareness and sight words.}

Each of the reading and math assessments took 30 minutes or less.  I had both Luke and Levi take one assessment a day.  You can view their assessments immediately after they have been completed.  Here is Luke's reading assessment {if you click on the picture it should get bigger and easier to see}:

I really appreciate that I've been given many ways to report the information:  symbols and colors {the check mark, plus and minus signs} and charts.  On the bottom right of the report (in red), are Luke's placement results. This is the level he'll automatically be placed in.  If you feel it is too easy or too hard, you can request a change.  Luke was place in High 3rd level sight words and low 4th grade vocabulary and reading comprehension. At this point, I didn't have to do anything -- he could work through the automatically assigned lessons.  Alternatively, you can create assignments to target weak areas or areas that need more practice.

Some things I like:
  • Assessment-driven instructional material
  • My kids enjoy the program -- they made progress! 
  • Lessons have instruction, practice, and quizzes
  • Easy interface for kids to log in and choose lessons
  • After every lesson, the boys have a clear, easy way to log out or continue on:
  •  I can log on to one parent account and see all my children's reports, progress, completed programs -- I like data, and K5 Learning gives me lots of it!
  • The depth of the material is amazing!  Here is a guide for reading tasks and math tasks.
  • The mastery grid for math facts is wonderful.  I think it provides great information for me as well as encouragement and motivation for my kids:

Things to consider:
  • You must request an assessment even after signing up. Even though my request was answered within the same day I requested, I feel that this is a clunky.
  • As much as I love all the data, I'm not sure what all the numbers mean -- especially the 3-digit number assigned to both the global math and reading scores.  What is Luke's "555" score in reading? Does it indicate a level of proficiency compared to other 3rd graders?  Is it a mark of reading ability on one of the many reading-level scales (such as Lexile Measures).  I have a background in standardized assessment as a speech-language pathologist, so I like to know what the numbers mean so that I can assess skills and progress accurately.
  • I used the Spelling program with my oldest son to create a customized list with words in his spelling program. Some of the voices used to dictate the word were very clear -- others were too "computer-y" and mechanical sounding and made it difficult to understand.  "Favorite" sounded like "favored" and "choir" did not resemble the English word.  This didn't happen often, but to be fair to your child, you should allow for some errors depending on the computerized voice (which randomly alternated between male and female voices).
    These considerations in no way mean that we did not like the program -- we did!  And this is something that I would definitely consider for over-the-summer work for my two boys.

    To see what other Crew members thought, head over to The TOS Crew Review! (Click the banner below)


    FCC statement:  Thanks to K5 Learning, who provided a complementary subscription to their website for my boys in exchange for my honest opinions. 

    1 comment:

    Coloring Pages said...

    The mastery grid for math facts is wonderful. I believe it provides great information for me as well as encouragement and motivation for my kids: nice post, i think u must try this site to increase traffic. have a nice day