As a former special education teacher, my time at school revolved around two terms: differentiation and documentation. These were both incredibly complex to achieve. I was supporting students with a wide range of academic needs across multiple content areas, and documentation often involved hours of tedious data collection and IEP (individualized education plan) writing. However, about halfway through my teaching career, I was able to find a resource that helped make my life easier: IXL!
If you’re not already familiar with IXL, it’s a K-12 personalized learning program that offers a comprehensive curriculum, personalized guidance, and diagnostic and analytic tools. Below, I’ll focus on IXL’s Real-Time Diagnostic and IXL Analytics and how they can help you differentiate your SpEd instruction and document your students’ growth and progress.
How IXL supports differentiation for special ed students
The Real-Time Diagnostic
The Real-Time Diagnostic assesses across the K-12 curriculum, helping you pinpoint each learner’s knowledge and grade level proficiency in key math and language arts strands. (Learn more about how it works with this video.)
From your Diagnostic Overview report, you can access a personalized action plan for each student by clicking the printout icon to the right of their name. This Student Action Plan outlines specific IXL skill recommendations, based on each student’s diagnostic results, that will help the student improve and meet grade level objectives. You can easily print this out and use it as a personalized lesson plan for when you are working one-on-one with a student!
If you want to work with students in small groups, turn to the Diagnostic Strand Analysis. It automatically groups students of similar ability levels on each strand, and shows you the top recommended skills for each group.
The Trouble Spots report is another powerful tool for small-group instruction. It prioritizes the skills students are struggling with the most so you can quickly see which groups need help with which skills. And, the report shows you the actual questions students answered incorrectly, which are a handy way to pull sample questions for review or reteaching! You can also access a trouble spots report for each individual student from this page.
Best IXL Analytics reports for IEP documentation
The reports in IXL Analytics are very useful when it comes to IEP annual reviews and goal writing. Here are three of my favorites for progress monitoring documentation.
Student Action Plan
Print out this diagnostic report periodically to document how a student’s knowledge levels change over time. At the beginning of the year, it can help you set IEP goals for the student.
This report helps you visualize the progress your student has made on specific IXL skills, showing you every skill they practiced and their score progression for each. It also helps you see if there are any declines in knowledge over time.
Student Score Chart
With this report, you can quickly assess a student’s performance on IXL skills and their coverage of grade-level objectives. You can sort the report by state standard strands as well!