Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

Forum for student expression since 1977

The Patriot Press

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Aleks vs. Savvas – which math program is superior?

Math is a subject feared by many, conquered by few, but battled by all. The math programs you use can make or break your experience and be the difference between battling and conquering your work.

Aleks and Savvas are two different math programs that students have to use to complete homework and take quizzes. Whichever one you use depends on what class you’re in and what teacher you have. Every student at Liberty has had to tackle at least one of these programs, but which one is better?

The obvious answer to that question is Savvas and there are countless reasons as to why.

Imagine that you sit down to work on your Aleks pie and it tells you you have to do a knowledge check before you can continue working. 

You open it and realize it’s basically a long quiz, panic, and end up doing poorly because you don’t know the topic very well yet, seeing as it’s the beginning of the unit. You check your results to see that your pie is barely filled in and now you have 37 topics waiting for you to learn, or even worse, relearn them.

The kid next to you mostly learned this unit last year so they did better than you and only have 12 topics to learn. 

And yet, you both have the same due date to complete.

That sounds like a nightmare but it’s what Aleks users have to look forward to after every unit test.

After the initial knowledge check, there are always topics with about three to five questions each that need to be completed before the end of the unit. 

If you get two questions correct in a row, it gives you an extra point, meaning that you have to answer one less question for that topic. That would be nice if it weren’t for the fact that if you get one wrong, it deletes one point of progress, meaning you have to do an extra question which only leads to frustration and burnout.

In fact, if you get a question wrong too many times, Aleks will block you from working on that topic and tell you to “work on something else.” I will not accept such taunts from an inanimate math program.

Blocking students from topics is simply illogical because if they have gotten a question wrong several times, shouldn’t they be focused on that type of problem? If they don’t understand it, they have to learn it somehow.

Savvas, on the other hand, allows students to answer a question incorrectly without penalty infinitely many times, giving them the opportunity to learn and students will have more patience to complete the assignment.

Additionally, throughout units, most teachers will make you take quizzes on Aleks. If you bomb a quiz on alex and get say, a 65%, you could retake the quiz.

That’s great… except even if you got a 100% on your retake your final score would only be an 82.5% because Aleks averages your scores out, rather than giving you the higher score.

Savvas would never do any of that to me and it has many more redeeming qualities than Aleks does.

For starters, the “show me an example” button is a godsend when you don’t know what you’re doing. You just click that button and it gives you an example of the exact question you’re working on, just with different numbers. You can follow along with exactly what Savvas says, just inputting your own information. 

Another helpful button Savvas has is the “help me solve this” button. It’s not my personal favorite because it gives you a new question as soon as it’s finished walking you through the problem, but it can be nice if you are really stuck on a question.

Aleks does have an “explanation” button but it’s not even close to as good as either of the Savvas help buttons because it doesn’t clearly walk you through the problem and it gives you a different question if you click it.

Now that I’m taking Pre-Calc, I have to use Aleks and everyday I miss Savvas a little bit more. We had some good times together in Geometry and Algebra 2 but I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have. Don’t take Savvas for granted while you still have it because at any moment Aleks might replace it.

About the Contributor
Jocelyn Hood, Opinion Editor
Jocelyn Hood is a Junior at Liberty High School and co-editor for the Opinion section of the Patriot Press. She is involved in activities at Liberty such as theatre, art club, and honors society. In her free time she likes to watch horror movies.