What is IXL and How Does it Work? (2024)

By Luke Edwards


IXL teaches math, language, science and more through an easy-to-use digital platform

What is IXL and How Does it Work? (1)

The IXL platform is a personalized digital learning space that covers K-12 curriculum and is used by more than 14 million students. With over 9,000 skills in math, English language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish, it is a very comprehensive service.

By using a curriculum base, actionable analytics, real-time diagnostics, and individualized guidance, educators are given the tools to help students target specific learning goals. Thus, it can be used to support personalized learning plans.

The 'immersive learning experience,' as it's described, has so far answered more than 115 billion questions worldwide. You can even view a counter of this number on the IXL website, which is going up at nearly 1,000 questions per second.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about IXL.

  • Strategies for Assessing Students Remotely
  • Best Tools for Teachers

What is IXL?

IXL, at its most basic, is a targeted learning tool. It offers experiences for students, tailored to their age group by specific subject and topic. By offering analytics and recommendations, it is able to help support teaching and learning with a very focused outcome.

What is IXL and How Does it Work? (2)

IXL is web-based but also has apps for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Chrome. Whatever way you get to it, there are nearly all the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) covered for K-12, plus some Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for grades 2 to 8.

While there are plenty of high school subject-specific lessons, in game form, you also have access to games that focus on the fundamentals too.

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Both math and language arts cover pre-K right up to grade 12. The math side offers equations, graphing, and fraction comparisons, while the language work focuses on grammar and vocabulary skills.

Science and social studies each cover grades 2 to 8 topics, while Spanish offers Level 1 learning.

How does IXL work?

IXL works by offering skills that students practice, one at a time, earning them points and ribbons when they get questions correct. Once 100 points are collected for a certain skill, they are awarded a stamp in their virtual book. Once multiple skills are mastered, they can earn virtual prizes. The SmartScore goal, as it's known, helps keep students focused and working toward a target.

The SmartScore adapts based on difficulty, so it's not discouraging to get something wrong but rather adaptive to help each student progress to the next level of difficulty suited to them.

What is IXL and How Does it Work? (3)

Lots of drill-and-practice options are available to allow for independent work, making this a great option for remote learning and homework-based schooling. Since IXL offers plenty of feedback, it's possible to help students improve very rapidly with specific, targeted training.

Teachers can recommend or assign specific skills to students. They're given a code that they can enter, then they're taken to those skills. Before starting, students can select "learn with an example" to see how the skill works, showing them how to solve a problem. They can then begin practicing at their own pace. The SmartScore is always viewable to the right, going up and down as correct and wrong answers are entered.

What are the best IXL features?

IXL is smart, so it can learn what a student needs to work on and offer new experiences to suit their needs. The built-in real-time diagnostic evaluates learners on a deep level to work out their exact proficiency level in any subject. This then creates a personalized action plan that can be used to guide each student so they're working on the best possible growth path.

If stuck during a skill, it's possible to scroll to the bottom where other skills are listed, which can help to build up knowledge and understanding so the student can better take on the skill at hand.

Recommendations work as a way to pick up skills that may help fill in blank areas in which students could benefit from expanding their knowledge and skills. This is a great way to work using the app, anywhere and anytime, to help students learn independently while still being focused on curriculum-specific goals.

The analytics from all this student-specific data can be used by teachers, clearly laid out, to help them see where students need to focus. This shows both parents and teachers where the student is having trouble and how prepared they are to meet learning standards. For teachers, there are both class and individual reports that include item analysis, usage, and trouble spots.

How much does IXL cost?

Pricing for IXL is widely varied depending on what is being sought. The below are prices per family, however, children, schools, and districts can apply for a specific quote that may represent savings.

A single subject membership is charged at $9.95 per month, or $79 annually.

Go for the combo package, with math and language arts, and you'll be paying $15.95 per month, or $129 yearly.

Core subjects all included, with math language arts, science, and social studies, cost $19.95 per month, or $159 annually.

Pick a classroom specific package and it'll cost from $299 per year, going up depending on how many subjects you use.

IXL best tips and tricks

Skip a level
The "jump a level" skill can be used to see tougher questions, ideal to help test a student at a higher level, or access these for class wide use as a group.

Use Classroom
Since the system integrates with Google Classroom, this can be a great way to share specific skill-based improvement areas.

Suggest a skill
Teachers can share a specific skill, which might not automatically be assigned, in order to direct as student in an area they feel may be beneficial.

  • Strategies for Assessing Students Remotely
  • Best Tools for Teachers

Luke Edwards

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.

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What is IXL and How Does it Work? (2024)


What is IXL and How Does it Work? ›

With over 10,000 adaptive skills, IXL empowers educators to provide individualized instruction across a broad range of ability levels—whether students are English language learners, have special needs, or are working at different grade levels.

Why do schools still use IXL? ›

With over 10,000 adaptive skills, IXL empowers educators to provide individualized instruction across a broad range of ability levels—whether students are English language learners, have special needs, or are working at different grade levels.

How does the IXL program work? ›

As students learn, IXL uses insights from their work to generate personalized skill recommendations in real time. Each recommendation is precise and unique, guiding learners to the specific skills that will help them make the most progress right now.

How much is IXL monthly? ›

Pricing for a single-subject family membership starts at just $9.95/month or $79/year for one child.

Does IXL teach or just test? ›

IXL makes it easy to teach any lesson, personalize instruction, and accelerate learning. Covering all 4 core subjects, our PK-12 curriculum is aligned to all 50 state standards, popular textbooks, and standardized tests.

What do teachers think of IXL? ›

What I especially like about IXL is that all of of my students get to work on math skills at their own pace. My higher and lower level students can all succeed at doing the math questions. They and their parents all make great comments about how they like doing math using this program.

Does IXL count as homeschooling? ›

IXL is a popular practice tool that many families use to help reinforce the concepts that are introduced in their children's lessons at home or in school. IXL is not an accredited homeschool, and we are not authorized to verify or issue school credits.

Is IXL stressful for students? ›

IXL Learning Program, a popular online educational platform, has gained significant attention in recent years. While it claims to enhance learning outcomes, there is growing concern about its negative impact on students' emotional well-being.

Is IXL curriculum based? ›

Mastery-based curriculum

IXL is specifically designed to help any student build mastery. Our curriculum is finely scaffolded and deeply adaptive, ensuring students build a strong foundation and understand each concept or standard in multiple contexts.

Is IXL any good? ›

IXL is a great resource for all subjects for grades k-12!

Depending on the grade level, it might create some stress with the subject tests to see poor grades or points when first learning a subject. With older grade levels it can be a motivator to continue learning a subject.

Is IXL or Khan Academy better? ›

IXL has a strong focus on math and language arts, while Khan Academy offers a wider range of subjects. Consider your learning style: If your child is a visual learner, then you may prefer Khan Academy's videos and articles. If your child is an auditory learner, then you may prefer IXL's games and quizzes.

Which is better than IXL? ›

Alternative #1: Khan Academy

It produces short video lessons on a wide spectrum of academic subjects. The online platform offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard so learners can study at their own pace.

Is IXL completely free? ›

Yes! IXL offers a free Android app for students to practice math, language arts, science, social studies, and Spanish on the go and earn fun awards. The app is available for Android tablets and phones, and it requires a recent version of Android. Download the app from the Google Play Store to get started!

Can I use IXL as a full curriculum? ›

IXL is open and flexible: You have access to our entire PK-12 curriculum and can adapt it to meet the needs of your unique classroom.

Why do schools use IXL? ›

IXL is proven to help schools drive academic gains for English language learners at all levels. From real-time assessment insights to personalized practice, IXL helps your ELL students build confidence and become proficient in academic language.

How long does an IXL lesson take? ›

IXL's Real-Time Diagnostic pinpoints students' grade-level proficiency in key math and English language arts strands in just 45 minutes per subject.

Why is IXL so infuriating? ›

Inadequate Feedback: While IXL provides immediate feedback on incorrect answers, it often lacks detailed explanations or alternative strategies for solving problems. This limits students' ability to learn from their mistakes and hinders their overall growth.

How much stress does IXL cause? ›

The program only grades students based on correct answers. According to CommonSense Media, parents have even gone as far as to review IXL, saying that the scoring system harshly punishes mistakes and leads to a ton of stress instead of academic comprehension.

Is Khan Academy better than IXL? ›

IXL has a strong focus on math and language arts, while Khan Academy offers a wider range of subjects. Consider your learning style: If your child is a visual learner, then you may prefer Khan Academy's videos and articles. If your child is an auditory learner, then you may prefer IXL's games and quizzes.

Does the IXL diagnostic ever end? ›

The Real-Time Diagnostic is always available; students can enter the Diagnostic at any time and answer as many questions as they like. When students first use the Diagnostic, we recommend they aim to diagnose until their complete diagnostic data is revealed—for most students, this will be around 45 minutes per subject.

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