Review of MathScore online math practice environment
Mathscore is an online math practice system. Its main features are:
- randomly generated problems that get harder and harder
- hundreds of different math topics, from math facts to geometry and word problems
- the intelligent system adapts to let the student practice problems he/she has missed
- student competes against him/herself, trying to attain higher and higher levels within each topic
Who benefits from MathScore?
I feel Website MathScore.com can benefit ALL STUDENTS - after all, it is about math practice, and all students need practice.
It is a great tool. I would recommend it to anyone, as long as it fits your budget. It is like a versatile tool in your "teacher's toolbox", to be used often and for many things.
MathScore does not replace a textbook nor a teacher, since it does not explain or teach concepts. But used wisely, it could replace most of your math workbook or worksheets.
Using MathScore for math problems is in certain ways even better than giving kids some problems from a book, because MathScore
a) keeps score so YOU know how they're doing
b) adapts to their level and practices more those problems that the student hasn't yet mastered
c) it motivates them to reach higher and higher levels.
If you are a teacher, even if your school decides not to have it at school, you should be aware of it, so you can recommend it to parents.
MathScore has both a school and a home version.
Please look through some of the screenshots that show you the variety of topics within MathScore. I cannot really copy here a list of their topics; it is long.
Why is practice so important? Isn't it "drill and kill"?
You might have bought into the deception of "drill is bad, we should teach concepts". It's not that simple. Mindless drill without teaching concepts and patterns in the math facts is sort of futile, but drill and practice of math facts has its place.
For example, if you are teaching multiplication, you'd first teach students the concepts, and show them patterns in multiplication facts. You go through multiplication facts little by little (not all at once). You show them some tricks and such.
But ultimately the time comes when it is time to practice.
Kids need to use those facts hundreds of times. They can play games, or practice with flashcards, or with MathScore, etc. Ultimately the facts will stick.
MEMORIZATION of basic addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts is important. In fact, it is CRUCIAL, if you wish to do WELL in math.
Why? Have you ever considered what comes next? If you don't learn your addition facts, then double-digit or three-digit addition problems will be somewhat of a straining task for you. If you DO know the facts, those problems are very easy, and don't tax the mind very much. They become routine, something we can do "one eye closed, half asleep".
If you don't know your multiplication tables by heart, then simplifying a fraction such as 42/56 is difficult and takes a long time. If you do know them, it's as easy as a pie.
Remember also that MathScore also trains the student in many different kinds of basic computation, geometry and word problems - and not only in multiplication tables.
When all those computations and basic problems become easy and routine tasks, the student will perform FAR better in non-routine problems. He will recognize parts in non-routine problem that are like those routine problems, and he will be able to solve the totality far better.
While the list of topics that MathScore covers is quite long, it is not all-inclusive.
Remember also that MathScore does not teach concepts. It provides practice problems after the student has learned the concept or basic idea.
MathScore, $5.95/month for 1 student, $4 for a second student, and $3 for each additional student, and $60 for a year. School pricing is different. Website MathScore.com.
Review by Maria Miller, MSc, author of HomeschoolMath.net