Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Brush up on those Math skills with FactorTree!

I am a BzzAgent. And as a BzzAgent, I had the opportunity to try out The Factor Tree.

The Factor Tree is a place where students from Kindergarten to 6th Grade can practice the math skills they learn in school every day! And parents are able to check in on the progress of their child, with test results on their homepage!

My daughter is in 2nd grade and she struggles with math. This is a great tool for her to practice some of the skills that need some work, without having the pressure of a timed test, or the distractions of a crazy 2nd grade classroom.

There are tons of things I love about this site, but there are some things I don't like too. Let's start with signing up. In a few clicks, we were signed up and ready to start. It was a little confusing, at first, because in order to have my daughter start testing, I had to log out of my user account, and log in with hers. I won't tell you how long it took me to figure this out, but I was pretty peeved! :)

After figuring that out, we logged out and logged back in with her unique user name and password. You can set up however many children you want, and they all have separate user names and passwords, so there's no competition to do as well or better than your siblings!

After logging in my daughters account, the main page was a start button.
Simple enough.

Then we proceeded to answer the 20 question test (it keeps track of your progress for you). The questions ranged from choosing the correct name for a rectangle, to greater than(>) and less than (<), and adding double digits. There was even some adding of currency.

I found some of the questions to be WAY beyond my second grader, and others to be so simple a preschooler could answer them. There is a HINT button to help you though the tougher questions.

The test itself is pretty easy to navigate. However, instead of giving a 2nd grader a lesson in running the keyboard to figure out how to type the < sign (which is Shift + < ), there should be more kid friendly options, like having to click the correct symbol on the screen. She made it through all of the questions and was a little bummed that you had to hit a back button in order to see whether you got them right or not. She wanted to see when she got something wrong. Now it was my turn. We logged back out of her account, and logged back into mine (pain!). I went to her progress report and was not only able to see the amount of time it took her, and her test score, I could actually go into the test itself and see which problems she got wrong. We went through the test together, finding a lot of smiling happy faces, and a few red sad faces. We were able to discuss which questions she got wrong, and what she needed to change to get them right. It was a great tool!

Overall, I love the concept of the site. Letting your child practice at their own pace, and being able to track their progress is very beneficial as a parent. Especially as a parent of a child struggling with math. I think the site could use a little work, though. Logging in and logging out is a huge pain in the behind. And your child not being able to see when they do something wrong is kind of a bummer. I'd love for the test to tell her when she's done something wrong, and maybe walk her through how to do it correctly. And I'd also like to see a more kid friendly test that doesn't require them to waste time searching all over the keyboard.

Another downside, $20 a month for a subscription. Really, something like this I'd expect to be more like $5 a month. But if your child is truly struggling in math, this is a great place for them to catch up to the rest of their class. And $20 a month is a small price to pay for that peace of mind, I guess.

So thank you to The Factor Tree and BzzAgent for giving me the opportunity to try out the site!

Disclaimer: BzzAgent provided me with all appropriate links to The Factor Tree, as well as a free month trial code.