What SmartScore Goal Should I Set For My Students?

November 10, 2014


In the Classroom, IXL Insights

Have you ever wondered how IXL’s math and language arts programs are able to adapt to each student’s skill level and provide accurate, continuous assessment of student performance? It’s all about the SmartScore!

Setting SmartScore goals for your students is a great way to motivate them and encourage improvement. Read on to learn how to implement SmartScore goals in the classroom!

What is the right SmartScore goal for my students?

Setting SmartScore targets of 80 or 90

A score of 100 may be too ambitious for some students, so if they are struggling to reach that target, try challenging them to reach 80 or 90 instead! A SmartScore of 100 indicates true mastery, but a score of 80 and above still demonstrates that students have a strong understanding of the skill.

Use the SmartScore as a scaffolding strategy

Another strategy is to use the SmartScore to help students focus on improvement rather than trying to hit a certain score right away. Set practice milestones along the way to mastery to continuously motivate students. For example, when introducing new concepts, have your students work towards a SmartScore of 60. By the end of the unit, set a goal of 80. Later in the month, pick an old skill to review, and challenge them to reach 90. Extra credit for mastering skills with 100!

Monitor SmartScore improvement using IXL Analytics

Don’t forget to monitor your students’ progress using IXL Analytics! The Trouble Spots report can be especially helpful in diagnosing which skills and topics students are experiencing difficulty with, and therefore might need reteaching.

FAQ: How is a student’s SmartScore adjusted as he or she practices?

We often get asked why the SmartScore is lowered in larger intervals as students approach a score of 100. We recognize that every student learns at a different pace, so the SmartScore doesn’t penalize students heavily for missed questions early in their practice sessions. Once students begin to understand the skill and consistently submit correct answers, their SmartScore goes up and IXL presents more challenging problems. Then, in order to reach a SmartScore of 100, students must answer a certain number of questions correctly and consistently, including the most difficult problems within that skill. This is to ensure that students truly understand the material (and that they aren’t just guessing correctly!). A little bit of struggle to reach mastery can be worthwhile – once the students hit 100, they’ll know their practice has paid off and that they’ve really earned that score!

Want more information? You can also check out our SmartScore guide here or watch the video below!

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All Comments (21)

Terran Smith November 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm

i like IXL because it helps me on my math work and it is,AWSOME!


lola November 14, 2014 at 5:57 am

I LOVE IXL MATH I AM SO GOOD AT IT I AM IN SIX GRADE AND I AM PROUD O BEING IN THE SIX GRADE LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


jill February 6, 2016 at 5:42 pm

i hate ixl it is not fun


Student November 21, 2016 at 4:42 pm

The SmartScore is not a helpful feature, as it actually hinders the learning process for all students. You will find that IXL has a very negative effect in the classroom. Just ask anyone who has used it.


The IXL Team November 22, 2016 at 10:42 am

Hi there–We’re sorry you feel this way. Though everyone learns differently, the SmartScore is designed to give students the time and support they need to practice a skill until they truly understand the material. We appreciate you taking the time to let us know your thoughts.


Kavya June 6, 2017 at 1:34 pm

I love ixl. Such a effective way for kids and teens to learn. I love that you don’t have to be constricted in one grade and you can go to the next grade level. I also love how easy it is to access and it makes learning very fun and educational!!!


The IXL Team June 7, 2017 at 10:48 am

Hi Kavya–Thanks for taking the time to write to us. We’re glad to hear you’ve been enjoying IXL!


Aaliyah June 13, 2017 at 8:19 am

im really enjoying ixl


Moulaye seydi September 27, 2017 at 7:35 pm

I have been using IXL for 5 years now. Despite we are a French immersion school, the students still love it. And, IXL becomes a relay for our parents to to help the students.


The IXL Team September 28, 2017 at 10:33 am

Hi Moulaye–That’s great to hear! We’re glad your students and their parents love IXL.


Bonnie Shannon Burke November 8, 2017 at 8:26 am

How do you reset a Smartscore so a student can practice the skill again from the beginning?


The IXL Team November 8, 2017 at 11:57 am

Hi Bonnie, Once a student has mastered a skill (reached a SmartScore of 100), their score will reset if they begin the skill again. If you’d like to chat more about SmartScore or how to best use it with your students, contact us anytime at support@ixl.com!


Aaron February 6, 2018 at 1:09 am

When I first started teaching and I would search in Analytics and it would tell me what a student score for there Smart Score for the entire year. Is it possible to figure out which student has the highest smart score?
Thank you,


The IXL Team February 6, 2018 at 9:49 am

Hi Aaron–Since a student’s SmartScore will differ for each skill, there’s not a single score for the year. However, in the Scores report in IXL Analytics, you can see who has the highest score in a particular skill and even filter by subject or date. We’d be happy to chat with you more about the best ways to use IXL Analytics in your classroom–please contact us at support@ixl.com!


Jeremy October 9, 2018 at 1:35 pm

As a student, I understand what it acutally feels like to do IXL’s. Both me and my peers find IXL’s quite frustrating, as in the higher percentile, the questions are harder and give you less points (which I am ok with), but take away many more points than the points that would be awarded. This just seems counterintuitive, as you are getting a harder question, but for getting it wrong, many points get removed just for getting something wrong that was more challenging for a student.


The IXL Team October 9, 2018 at 4:34 pm

Hi Jeremy — We’re sorry to hear you’re feeling frustrated! When you get a question wrong and your SmartScore decreases, it’s so you can spend more time getting the hang of the concept. This is especially true when you’re within the Challenge Zone (or above a SmartScore of 90) as you describe, as you are approaching mastery of the skill. When you reach a SmartScore of 100, you can be confident that you’ve fully mastered the concept!


Leo May 27, 2019 at 10:44 pm

Hi there is there any way to get the smartscore to go straight back to zero? My son needs to get all the questions right in a row but what bothers him the most is that he needs to answer every question wrong until he gets to zero and it takes a long time. And I appreciate IXL very much because it helps my son improve a lot. Thanks!


The IXL Team May 28, 2019 at 1:37 pm

Hi Leo — While we don’t recommend resetting the SmartScore, our Family Memberships team would be happy to provide tips that may work for your family. Please reach out to them at support@ixl.com!


Nisa May 28, 2019 at 2:01 pm

Hi, I’m a 3rd grade student at Sauganash and I love IXL! It’s so fun to work with.


Caroline July 8, 2019 at 3:41 pm

In the overview of performance, there is a differentiation between mastery and excellence. Can you explain what IXL considers mastery vs. excellence? Thank you


The IXL Team July 8, 2019 at 4:51 pm

Hi Caroline — When a student reaches a SmartScore of 100, this means they have mastered the skill, and you can be confident that they truly understand the concept. ‘Excellence’ means that the student has reached a SmartScore of 90 on that skill, which is still very difficult to achieve, and represents a solid understanding that goes beyond proficiency. If you have further questions about IXL Analytics, our team would be happy to help — feel free to reach out to them at help@ixl.com!


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