6 Ways to Put Students in the Driver's Seat of IXL

Your students are using IXL, but are they using its powerful data analysis features to personalize their skill development?

If that sounds like a tall order, don't worry.  Here are 6 tips you can try today to put students in the driver's seat:

  1. Instruct Students to Do the Diagnostic
  2. Teach Students to Analyze their Diagnostic Data
  3. Demonstrate Use of the Recommendations Wall
  4. Teach Students to Filter their Trouble Spots
  5. Talk to Students About Scores vs. Progress
  6. Help Students Set Goals

1. Instruct Students to Do the Diagnostic

The bulk of quality data for IXL's analytics comes from the Continuous Diagnostic. (Skills work contributes to the data, but not nearly as much.)  There's no beginning or end to the Diagnostic - just continuous questions - so have students answer a few per day or a longer session per week. Over time, this will help pinpoint their specific needs.

And don't forget: Students can click the pyramid or book symbols to filter the diagnostic so they ONLY see either ELA or Math questions!

2. Teach Students to Analyze their Diagnostic Data

Students should know:
  • Every "100" represents a grade level according to state standards; for example, anything in the 800-899 range means the students is at an 8th grade level.
  • Wider bands mean more data is needed - work on the Diagnostic!  When the band becomes a single dot, IXL has pinpointed that students' level with accuracy.
  • They can click recommended skills to jump straight to the practice they need most!

3. Demonstrate Use of the Recommendation Wall

Teachers can't control this wall - but students can still use it wisely! Each Recommendation tile has:
  • A blue pyramid or book symbol that lets them filter to see ONLY Math or ONLY ELA Recommendations.
  • A colorful symbol indicating what type of recommendation each one is, so students can choose what type of goal they want to pursue that day:

4. Teach them to Filter their Trouble Spots

The power of IXL's Diagnostic shows up here: diagnosing the exact standards and skills where students are stuck. Teach them to use the filters at the top of the page, and help them understand how their Smartscore and the number of missed questions tells the story of their strengths and weaknesses. Show them how they can go straight from this screen to practicing the skills they need!

5. Talk to Them About Scores vs. Progress

  Scores are great snapshots of their overall mastery level, while Progress is focused more on growth. These two lenses each have their own merit, so help students understand how to value where they are, but also their growth - and to know which lens to use when prioritizing what to work on in IXL.

6. Help Them Set Goals

SmartScores are useful if you know how to use them:
  • 100 is Mastery, but not easily attainable for all skills.
  • 90+ is when students hit the "Challenge Zone" - harder questions above their current level -  hence the difficulty reaching 100.
  • 80 is Proficiency, and a good baseline goal to set for the class.
  • Each student is different, each skill is different.  Help students set reasonable goals for their needs. A goal of 100, 90, or 80 doesn't make sense for all students, all skills.  Teach them to value progress and growth over simply achieving a static number goal.

You can teach students all 6 in less than one class period. Letting go of control is difficult, but students taking ownership of their own skill development is...
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