IXL Makes Life Tedious For Students

New requirement for IXL isn’t helping students learn in the best way possible

Amy Carranza, Co-Managing Editor

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It seems like there’s always that one website that teachers use in their lesson plans. 

Whether it’s ST Math from way back in elementary school or your best friend in middle school—Khan Academy—these websites are designed to help students gain a better understanding in what subject they’re learning.

At least, they’re supposed to support students in their journey to academic growth.

Recently, Venice High implemented a requirement for students in non-Advanced Placement Math and English classes to do IXL for at least 50 minutes per week—and it’s not okay.

IXL is an online program that personalizes the PreK-12 curriculum to fit students’ current knowledge of topics ranging from English and Math to Social Studies and Science, even Spanish! With a diagnostic given to evaluate students and recommended lessons geared towards specific needs in any topic, IXL is able to track student progress and continue to customize as students begin to show mastery.

However, there are major faults to consider when using IXL for subject understanding.

One, there’s no active help available. Unlike Khan Academy, IXL doesn’t provide any sort of digestible explanation, like videos, related to the particular lesson you’re working on. 

Of course, when you get a question wrong, the program sends you to an enormously long written explanation telling how you can correct your mistake, which could actually be resourceful if anyone took the time to read it, but who does?

Why doesn’t IXL consider posting videos instead of expecting us to give reading a try? Trust me, I enjoy reading, but I’ve gone through the suffering of doing IXL for more than an hour—and obviously, my time lengthens because I get at least two single questions wrong in a row. 

But by that time, my blood boils too much to pay attention to the explanation. Plus, I know I wouldn’t want to go onto another lesson right after my brain is fried.

Speaking of which, the reason why I get so enraged is because whenever I get a question wrong, my “Smart” Score lowers. Not by a few points, but by seven or more, which goes to say that IXL not only doesn’t consider the lack of student comprehension in one-sided explanations, but doesn’t care about mastery. The program only grades students based on correct answers.

According to CommonSense Media, parents have even gone as far as to review IXL, saying that the scoring system harshly punishes mistakes and leads to a ton of stress instead of academic comprehension. 

However, there are benefits to the program as students do get personally recommended lessons to try out on subjects they wish to strengthen, and they can build a routine to practice their skills.

But, it can’t be denied that students feel like giving up when they’re not learning too much or when they’re stressed, leaving them to only focus on getting that one hundred, finally finishing the session.

Perhaps the next time your teacher assigns you an IXL assignment, or two, or ten, don’t judge them for following a requirement or for thinking that this school-approved program will benefit you.

Instead, research must be done to debunk and dissect issues in educational tools for better teaching methods.

Maybe then I’ll probably be at peace with all my math classes and every long, undying hour I pushed through just to receive those ten points of homework or extra credit.