How to take an active role in your child’s learning

Niall McMullan is an IXL Professional Learning Specialist with experience as a teacher and an elementary school vice principal.

Interested in taking a more active role in your child’s education, but not sure where to start? If your child is using IXL in the classroom, it’s easy to identify exactly what they’re learning, what they’re struggling with, and how you can help. 

We’ve compiled a list of answers to common questions families have when learning about IXL for the first time. With a common understanding of what IXL is and how it personalizes learning for your child, you’ll be able to have richer conversations and hone in on their gaps and progress. So let’s dive in:  

  • What is IXL? 
  • Are these digital worksheets? 
  • What does the SmartScore represent? 
  • Where can I see the skills your teacher has assigned? 
  • Can I see what you’ve been working on? 
  • Are there any resources you can use when you get stuck? 
  • What can I do to help you identify where you need additional help? 
  • Where can I see an overview of what you know? 
  • Do you have to use a desktop to work on IXL? 

What is IXL?

IXL is a personalized learning platform. With access to a comprehensive curriculum in a variety of subjects, students have unlimited access to all skills—regardless of their grade level—and are free to review past material and explore new concepts. On IXL, you’ll notice features that ensure each student is supported and working on skills and/or questions that fit their unique needs. 

IXL significantly accelerates learning, helping students rank up to 18 percentile points higher on state assessments! It’s used by over 12 million students in the US and counting. 

Parent tip: When discussing this question with your child, take the opportunity to hear how they define IXL. 

Are these digital worksheets? 

A digital worksheet library provides opportunities to practice concepts, but IXL goes above and beyond that. For each skill, IXL generates questions based on your child’s progress to ensure they’re confident and prepared for each difficulty level. 

IXL is also a key instructional resource for guiding learning for each lesson, tracking progress and growth throughout the year, and assessing their readiness for new material. 

Parent tip: When addressing this question, take the opportunity to discuss how working in IXL compares to practicing problems with traditional worksheets. 

What does a SmartScore represent? 

On every skill, you’ll see a number (0-100) called a SmartScore that increases as your child answers questions correctly. You can use the SmartScore to quickly gauge your child’s understanding of a concept. A SmartScore of 80 means they’ve reached proficiency (or have a firm grasp) of the skill, while 90 is excellent and 100 indicates mastery. 

It’s important to note that IXL’s SmartScore is not a percentage. Instead, it’s the most accurate possible measure of your child’s understanding, calculated using question difficulty, answer accuracy, and consistency. Like a smartphone or smart TV, the SmartScore’s name reflects how the score is calculated. 

Parent tip: We recommend talking through SmartScore goals with your child—keeping in mind that reaching 100 is meant to be a challenge—and identifying ways that you can celebrate their progress. It’s a great opportunity to peruse the Awards section, where they’ve earned badges for reaching SmartScore goals in past skills! 

Where can I see the skills your teacher has assigned? 

Visit the Recommendations wall to see assigned skills. You can see the full list of assigned skills by clicking on the star drop-down, or by scrolling through recommended skills that have a yellow star icon. 

The Recommendations wall is also a great place to see a variety of recommended skills, including brand new topics and building block skills that can help learners gain confidence.  

Parent tip: When discussing this question with your child, take the opportunity to discuss the skills your child’s teacher has assigned and learn more about which skills your child is interested in exploring. 

Can I see what you’ve been working on?

Absolutely! You’ll find a variety of unique reports within the Analytics tab that can help you hone in on your child’s activity on IXL. 

The Usage Details report is a great place to start. Get a bird’s eye view of your child’s work, including the time they’ve spent on IXL, how many questions they’ve answered, and the number of skills they’ve worked on. You’ll also see a breakdown of what your child accomplished in every practice session. 

Parent tip: When discussing this report with your child, celebrate the milestones they’ve reached and help them identify what works best for each practice session. 

Are there any resources you can use when you get stuck? 

With IXL, your child has access to built-in tools to support their learning. These include: 

  • Learn with an example, which walks learners through a sample question and step-by-step solution
  • Answer explanations, which provides immediate feedback when a question is answered incorrectly and outlines the best way to tackle each problem 
  • Video tutorials, which provide bite-sized visual walkthroughs of each concept 
  • Lessons, which provide an in-depth written review of specific topics  

Parent tip: Try taking a tour of each resource with your child to make sure they’re aware of what’s available when they reach a trouble spot. 

What can I do to help you identify where you need additional help? 

The Trouble Spots report, available within the Analytics section, is a great place to start. This report pinpoints the skills your child is struggling on and the exact questions they’ve missed. 

At the bottom of each skill section on this report, you’ll have the option to access your child’s Questions Log for that skill. This report shows their SmartScore progress for each practice session in that skill, along with exact questions encountered and answers they’ve provided. 

Parent tip: When looking at these reports, you can chat with your child about what they’re struggling with and identify any patterns that arise in the Questions Log. It may also be helpful to review the questions they’ve missed. 

Where can I see an overview of what you know now? 

It’s likely that your child has answered questions within IXL’s Real-Time Diagnostic during class. This diagnostic pinpoints their knowledge levels in math and English language arts. It’s a useful tool for teachers and families alike to personalize learning for each child. 

Within the diagnostic, you’ll be able to see exactly what your child understands and where they need more support. The Diagnostic Action Plan provides skill recommendations based on their levels that can help them grow from where they are.  

Parent tip: We recommend reviewing the Diagnostic Action Plan with your child so they know where they stand and how they can boost their learning. Skills on the Diagnostic Action Plan are always available to practice on the Recommendations wall! 

Do you have to use a desktop to work on IXL? 

IXL is accessible from anywhere, including laptops, tablets, Kindles, and smartphones! The IXL mobile app has exclusive features, including a built-in scratchpad and handwriting recognition, that make on-the-go learning fun and effective. 

Parent tip: Have your child practice an assigned skill from the IXL app to see which device works best for them. 

Want to learn more about how to support your child’s learning? The IXL Family Learning Hub has all the resources you need to keep your child on track. 


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