The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

The student news publication of Libertyville High School

Drops of Ink

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MathXL Mayhem

Photo Courtesy of Noah Giles
MathXL often has technical difficulties, and correct answers are not accepted.

About two years ago, the first group of Libertyville students was introduced to a website that would impact their lives for years to come: MathXL.

To those who are not familiar, MathXL is a website on which you can do homework assignments, practice quizzes, practice tests, and regular practice problems for certain math topics.

Although the idea of online math homework may sound appealing to some, the website often causes students much frustration. Between technical difficulties, picky answers (like the one pictured above), and a tedious process to insert parentheses, percent signs, fractions, brackets, and other math symbols, MathXL has not been well-liked by most students at LHS.

Technical difficulties are very common when trying to complete assignments on MathXL.  The website has had multiple crashes where students cannot access their assignments.  In addition, there have been instances where a student types in the correct answer, but the website says it is wrong.

Another issue with MathXL is the overall idea of doing math homework on the computer.  Many students prefer to write out their work in order to solve math problems, but this is not as easy with MathXL.  The multiple choice questions are fine on the computer, but it is much more difficult to do longer, multi-step problems on a laptop.

Junior Evan Heard, who has been using the program since his freshman year, is not too fond of MathXL.

“I was pretty happy when I learned that my precalc class will not be using MathXL this year.  I’ve been using it for the past two years and it’s brutal,” Heard explained.  “It takes much longer than a worksheet and you cannot move on from a question until you get it right.”

Despite all the problems with MathXL, there are certain benefits from the program.  Libertyville math teacher, Ms. Theresa Elmore, has been using the program for three years and she loves it.

“[MathXL] can be really helpful,” Ms. Elmore explained.  “If a student gets a problem wrong, they get instant feedback so they can try it again.  It really helps them understand the topics.”

In addition to the instant feedback, Ms. Elmore also loves the “Help Me Solve This” feature on the website.

“If a student gets stuck on a problem, they can always click the ‘Help Me Solve This’ button and learn how to work through the problem step by step,” Ms. Elmore stated.

Finally, students have the option to retry a problem if they do not understand it, and they can keep on working until they understand how to do all of the problems.  After all the questions are completed, students can still go back and retry problems with which they struggled.

MathXL does have a few helpful features, but overall it is more useful for students to do math homework the old-fashioned way.  Doing worksheets or book work for homework is more effective and straightforward because you do not have to deal with any technical issues, yet the knowledge gained is the same.

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    John VonGenericoOct 14, 2023 at 10:59 pm

    I ain’t go to this school but we use this stupid program. it sucks so much, and I hate it. brutal is right, this program is so picky with the answers that I often fail questions because I dont insert the answer in the format the system likes. For instance, my answer to a question of “0, -1,” however the ‘correct’ answer was “-1, 0.” in the question it did not matter what order the answers were in, it just wanted the values. The technical difficulties and malfunctions are, as mentioned, frequent and awful, making this program more frustrating. I hate this program and wish I could do a worksheet instead because it has gotten rediculous.

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MathXL Mayhem