000-017   000-080   000-089   000-104   000-105   000-106   070-461   100-101   100-105  , 100-105  , 101   101-400   102-400   1V0-601   1Y0-201   1Z0-051   1Z0-060   1Z0-061   1Z0-144   1z0-434   1Z0-803   1Z0-804   1z0-808   200-101   200-120   200-125  , 200-125  , 200-310   200-355   210-060   210-065   210-260   220-801   220-802   220-901   220-902   2V0-620   2V0-621   2V0-621D   300-070   300-075   300-101   300-115   300-135   3002   300-206   300-208   300-209   300-320   350-001   350-018   350-029   350-030   350-050   350-060   350-080   352-001   400-051   400-101   400-201   500-260   640-692   640-911   640-916   642-732   642-999   700-501   70-177   70-178   70-243   70-246   70-270   70-346   70-347   70-410   70-411   70-412   70-413   70-417   70-461   70-462   70-463   70-480   70-483   70-486   70-487   70-488   70-532   70-533   70-534   70-980   74-678   810-403   9A0-385   9L0-012   9L0-066   ADM-201   AWS-SYSOPS   C_TFIN52_66   c2010-652   c2010-657   CAP   CAS-002   CCA-500   CISM   CISSP   CRISC   EX200   EX300   HP0-S42   ICBB   ICGB   ITILFND   JK0-022   JN0-102   JN0-360   LX0-103   LX0-104   M70-101   MB2-704   MB2-707   MB5-705   MB6-703   N10-006   NS0-157   NSE4   OG0-091   OG0-093   PEGACPBA71V1   PMP   PR000041   SSCP   SY0-401   VCP550   CISSP   810-403   CAS-002   300-206   200-101   OG0-093   000-104   MB6-703   CISSP   1Z0-144   070-461   1Z0-060   SSCP   LX0-103   220-901   640-911   102-400   220-901   70-346   000-017   CAP   LX0-104   102-400   350-050   350-018   PEGACPBA71V1   350-018   1Z0-051   2V0-621D   70-462   c2010-652   300-075   220-902   300-206   70-463   OG0-091   70-413   352-001   70-488   1Z0-804   70-533   OG0-093   220-801   CISSP   640-692   CISM   350-001   CAS-002   70-980   3002  

How to Challenge Every Student with IXL

How to Challenge Every Student with IXL

A Case Study of Alpha Blanca Alvarado Middle School in San Jose, Calif.

February 23, 2016


In the Classroom, For Admins

How do you meet the needs of every student when skill levels range from kindergarten to high school in a single class? Katrina Musco, a 6th grade teacher in San Jose, Calif., uses IXL Math and IXL Language Arts to ensure that each student is challenged and supported with practice and instruction at the right level.

One Classroom, Many Learning Needs

Alpha Blanca Alvarado Middle School is a charter school serving students in grades 6–8 in a low-income area in east San Jose. It is part of Alpha Public Schools, a network of public charter secondary schools with a mission to prepare students in disadvantaged communities for college and careers. Alpha Public Schools uses a blended learning model that integrates high-quality teaching with innovative technologies to provide a more individualized approach to learning.

Katrina teaches math, English language arts, science, and social studies for a class of 6th graders. She is also responsible for math curriculum planning for the entire 6th grade. Nearly 90 percent of the students in her class are non-native English speakers, primarily from Hispanic and Vietnamese families, and more than half of her students are classified as English Language Learners. In both math and language arts, she has a wide range of proficiency levels, with some students functioning at kindergarten or 1st grade skill levels and others ready to be challenged with high school-level work. In order to meet the needs of every student, Katrina relies on IXL to provide individualized instruction in math and English language arts.

“I love that students can work at their own level, whether they need to fill in missing pieces from earlier grades or need more of a challenge than I am giving them in class. No matter where they are starting from, my students are making progress on IXL.”

– Katrina Musco, 6th Grade Teacher

Meeting Individual Needs with IXL

Katrina uses a center-based classroom approach in which some students receive direct instruction while others work individually on IXL and other activities using Chromebooks. The school has a 1:1 Chromebook implementation to ensure that all students are able to access technology resources during class time.

Katrina has students spend part of their time on IXL practicing grade-level skills that supplement her direct instruction. Students can work at their own pace and practice as much or as little as they need in order to achieve mastery for each skill. If they get the wrong answer, they get immediate feedback and instruction from IXL so they can understand their mistakes.

Students also spend time working on skills matched to their instructional level. Students who are missing basic skills from earlier grades can go back and fill in the missing pieces. “Even my very low-level students are able to work on IXL,” Katrina says. “I have a student working at the kindergarten level with very low literacy skills. IXL works for her because she can have the question read to her and still make progress on individual skills.” She also has students challenging themselves with high school skills.

One approach that has worked especially well in math is using IXL to practice related skills from kindergarten all the way up to grade level. “I pick something we are working on, like finding the volume of a shape, and we practice all the building block skills for that topic from kindergarten up. This lets students find and correct the gaps in their understanding and prior knowledge before they tackle a new skill,” she explains.

Growth for Every Student

With IXL, Katrina sees progress for all of her students. “I can really see my students growing. Students who started the year working at a 2nd grade level are now working at a 4th grade level, while students who were at an 8th grade level are now working on skills at a 9th or 10th grade level. They are able to grow from wherever they are.”

Students have responded positively to the program. Katrina says her students are motivated by seeing their SmartScores (IXL’s proprietary scoring system that measures how well a student understands a skill) go up. They also love the medals and awards they earn as they master skills on the program. But she likes that IXL isn’t too game-like; her students appreciate the simple user interface and more mature approach to delivering instruction. “I see much more investment in IXL than I’ve seen in programs we have used that are more like games. They are actually motivated by seeing their own progress in IXL rather than by artificial video game-like elements. They get a real sense of satisfaction from seeing their scores increase.” Additionally, students see real value in the practice and instruction—many of Katrina’s students come in to spend extra time practicing on IXL before a test.

Katrina uses IXL reports to monitor student progress and share progress with parents. Students also track their own progress on a Google Docs spreadsheet. “With IXL, my students are taking more responsibility for their own learning. It’s great to see the progress they are making,” she says.

A copy of this case study is available for download here.

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All Comments (3)

Brianna price March 1, 2016 at 7:56 am



Tabitha Thomason July 31, 2016 at 6:38 am

I use IXL math in the classroom and I would love to acknowledge students at different levels of mastery. Do you have a report that recognizes excellence in a skill? I can run reports for mastery but not 80 Smartscores or 90 Smartscores. I would like to recognize students at a 90 Smartscore without having to look at over 100 line graphs and trying to estimate.
Math teachers would definitely benefit from the ability to see the BEST Smartscore as opposed to the CURRENT Smartscore. Will you help me? I love the program and I rave about it to everyone.


The IXL Team August 1, 2016 at 11:05 am

Hi Tabitha, thanks for your feedback! Currently, the only way to see students’ best scores is by checking the line graphs in the Questions Log report. However, you could also try using the Score Grid report, which will display all of your students’ current scores in one easy-to-read chart. We appreciate your feedback and will pass along your request to see a student’s best score to our development team.


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