Monday, February 1, 2010


If math education has lost its appeal in your homeschool a subscription to may be just what you need. Developed by MIT graduate Steven Yang, promises to make math practice fun and inviting to kids in grades 1-Algebra 1 level of study. Yang, who also co-founded Direct Hit Technologies, a winner of the MIT $50K Entrepreneurship competition in 1998, is hopeful that millions of children will be positively impacted by

" It is a challenge in educational software design to find a balance between genuine learning and motivational fun. One of the reasons why I designed MathScore was because I felt that too much educational software was fun, but very light on meaningful learning. I hope you agree that we've achieved a good balance", said Yang.

My test marketing team is pleased to give two thumbs up. As a member of TOS Review Crew I was given a 6 month trial to the MathScore website to use in our homeschool in exchange for this review. My daughters, Micah, grade 7 and Sierra, grade 2 took advantage of this opportunity. After watching a brief intro video on the company website, I understood the philosophy of MathScore lined up well with my approach to math education for my children. According to the website MathScore:

  • Eliminates the need for timed math tests

  • Is paperless

  • Promotes mastery learning

  • Is Proven to raise test scores

MathScore rewards speed and therefore to enable maximum success students need to have basic computer keyboarding skills. To assist with this issue, the first topic or lesson to complete is the Copy Cat Topic which teaches using the number key pad. This aspect was especially important for my 2nd grader who did not have much experience with keyboarding skills. Once Sierra successfully completed the Copy Cat Topic a screen appeared which said, "Congratulations" and small fireworks exploded. She was also promoted to the next level of expertise, that of Trainee and was so impressed by this that she ran to me shouting, "Mommy! I completed the level! I've been PROMOTED!" Wow! Excitement over math practice equals a very good thing.

I was pleased my 2nd grader was motivated, but in my opinion the true test of this product was to appeal to my somewhat skeptical 7th grader. I sat down with Micah after she had been using MathScore for three weeks to have her show me around the website and share her honest opinions.

After Micah logged in with her student user name and password she chose "Topics" to begin. A list of 92 different topics are available to choose from for the 7th grade level. Users can choose to review the list alphabetically, show only the critical thinking topics or simply leave them as presented. Once a topic is chosen, users may elect to view a mini-lesson, practice a worksheet of problems relating to the topic or simply do a worksheet. Timed worksheets vary in difficulty and length; the more difficult the concept the fewer the problems and more time awarded to complete. Students work against a designated time to solve problems and once successful in completing the worksheet are awarded points and promoted to the next level or higher. For example, while working on the "Fraction Division" topic, Micah completed level 4 worksheet in record time, was awarded 75 points and promoted to level 7. MathScore read her speed in level 4 as proficiency and rewarded her accordingly. This aspect of the program ensured Micah didn't waste time reviewing mastered concepts.

"They usually make you jump up a level if you have more time left than the time you've spent", explained Micah.

There are many aspects of MathScore which encourage students to pursue more math study. A "High Scores" section lists students using MathScore who have achieved the most points while using the program. Students are simply identified by initials, rank and score. An "Awards" section records the various levels of accomplishment the student has met throughout the entire subscription time with MathScore. All students begin as Trainees and unlock various rankings as points are scored. For example, at 27, 904 points Micah was ranked as a Lieutenant and would move to the next ranking at 30,000 points. The ability to print her list of accomplishment was a nice feature if I desired to have a written record of time well spent. Finally, in addition to points and rankings students can be awarded virtual "trophies" as certain topics are mastered.

"I think it makes it more fun to earn points and move up in ranking,"commented Micah. "It's kind of addicting, actually", she added.

A "Statistics" section of the website detailed a summary of Micah's activity on MathScore. By choosing to click on this button I quickly learned that she had spent a total of 23 hours and 59 mins. in math practice over a three week period. As her parent I also received daily report summaries through email each and every day she spent time on the site noting the updates to her status.

Although, we did not take advantage of the math assessment feature of MathScore, students in grade 4 and older may take an assessment test on the site which identifys student strengths and weaknesses. At the conclusion of the assessment, MathScore recommends topics to be studied based on test results. Assessments are an optional part of the MathScore program and recommended to be taken only a few times a year. Concentrating on working through the math topics is the intended focus of MathScore.

I have reviewed quite a few math related websites over the past two years. I really like the simplicity of MathScore; the competitive nature which taps kids' natural motivation and the accountability aspect of reporting activity to me on a daily basis. Micah was able to use this product without any assistance from me, but I was able to keep tabs on her progress through the email updates and quick checks of her summary. The fact that she completed her traditional math lesson quickly so she could spend more time with MathScore is in my opinion high praise for an educational product geared to mastery not entertainment.

MathScore has a rather complex pricing system in an attempt to meet the unique needs of homeschoolers.

  • Free half month trials are available to those wishing a test run before purchasing a subscription. After the trial period a subscription purchased month to month costs:

  • First child: $14.95/month
    Second child: $5/month
    Each additional child: $3.95/month
  • When logged in to your MathScore account, users can choose to purchase a 9-month subscription that reduces the price for the first child to $9.95/month. Once the purchase is made, the new pricing is locked in permanently, so after the 9 months, you can still pay the new rate on a monthly basis without prepaying for 9 more months.

    Another price option is a lump sum payment. If you prepay $50, you can get $60 account credit (20% bonus credit). If you prepay $100, you get $140 account credit (40% bonus credit). The lump sum payment option is the most favorable for parents who have already locked in the lowest rate.

    MathScore also allows subscibers to freeze their account for vacation times, then reactivate once home without any penalty. When an account is frozen account credit is awarded on a prorated basis so when the account reactivates no credit has been wasted.
Help your kids fall in love once again with their math education. Take advantage of MathScore and watch it light a fire for math in your homeschool.

1 comment:

siquia mauricio said...

A good evening to everyone! I am here to give some comments about mathscore and its help to me. The subject Mathematics had always been the most difficult subject for a student especially to those who doesn't have enough time in studying. For a graduating student like me who have difficulties in Mathematics,MATHSCORE is the answer to that because it will not only gives you learnings it will also let you experience joy while learning. And it was really a big help for me because it helps understand easily the topics I don't understand. When I was in elementary, my grade in this subject was really really offending. But now, during the first quarter in our school I got a Fine grade and I am contented with that. But ofcourse, I will not be able to get that fine grade without my Math instructor(MR.DANNY T. CARUBIO,THE REAL MATH TEACHER FOR ME!)and also, MATHSCORE. So to those students who have difficulties in Math subject I personally advise you to join MATHSCORE and experience the real enjoyment and more learnings! Thank you and God Bless to all!