From site: The Apex Learning® Academic Curriculum provides standards-based courses in math, science, English, social studies, world languages, electives, and Advanced Placement* for grades 6 through 12. With the Apex Learning Academic Curriculum, schools are able to take advantage of a range of online learning approaches to address critical education challenges and raise achievement for all students-from those who are not succeeding in traditional programs to students capable of accelerating their learning.
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Average user rating from: 6 user(s)
Algebra II, Spanish I and II, and Media Literacy
Maybe they've changed by the time you read this... but long story short, I advise you to stay away from Apex Learning. Very low standards. Some of the things I've seen are just disgraceful.
I am a high school senior. I attend school at least twice a week, one day to turn in homework and take tests, and another day to attend Spanish class with a few other students taking the online course. Keep in mind that because of this, things are easier for me, and I'm still not recommending Apex.
I'll start with the positive, really the only positive. I have just started Media Literacy. It's made a good first impression--I get the feeling that the person who wrote the course was really enthusiastic about the subject material. Or at least the person who wrote the beginning. I don't think it's as detailed as a traditional course would be, but there's a lot of student engagement in this one. It's just a shame that there isn't a teacher available to mentor students.
I've finished Spanish I, and am starting Spanish II. This is VERY difficult to get through without a fluent Spanish speaker helping you, which is why I'm glad I get to attend weekly Spanish classes at my school. In the beginning there's lots of flash cards. Some of them are so poorly illustrated you can't actually tell what word they're trying to teach you. They might've updated the graphics by the time you read this, but I doubt it. One part of the course states that Fidel Castro is the leader of Cuba. Actually, it's his little brother, Raúl Castro. To be honest... I've learned more from free Internet resources than the actual courses. Really.
Luckily I haven't encountered any wrong answers on quizzes and tests. But in between them are mini-games, and there are several wrong answers on those. Or at least answers that were never actually covered. For example, in a section that teaches the Spanish words for basic animals, there's a flashcard mini-game where you type in the name of the animal. This particular flashcard showed penguins. So I typed in Spanish for "birds", "pájaros". Nope, wrong. "pajaro"? Wrong again. "pájaritos", "pájarito", wrong, wrong. The answer? "pinguino". As you can guess, the course only mentioned how to say "bird". Not "penguin". Sometimes I wonder if the people who write the course actually communicate. Luckily, these mini-games aren't graded.
The recordings are decent quality, but when integrated into the mini-games, the quality drops drastically. What's worse is that you're supposed to type what you hear. When your Spanish teacher can't understand what's being said, that's a HUGE problem. Luckily, again, mini-games are not graded. Another problem with the recordings is that they're often too slow. Even the recordings in the section about fast spoken Spanish! If you take Apex's Spanish course, you're going to have to go above and beyond the course to actually gain any fluency--if you don't have any Spanish-speaking friends you're doomed to speak and think awkwardly in Spanish.
I'm neither a teacher nor a linguist, but the structure and pacing of the Spanish courses are also odd. Proper pronunciation is taught in very tiny increments. In Spanish II they've only just taugt how to pronounce H, Y, LL, dipthongs (two vowels next to each other), LL again, and P. I have to admit, some of them are actually very insightful tips. But teaching them this late? The student either already knows how to pronounce them no thanks to the course, or, has had a truly attrocious accent for over a year of being taught Spanish. I think there's some real lack of foresight in Apex's Spanish course... Or apathy and disregard towards the students. Or both.
Algebra II is the most frustrating for me. Quiz questions you get wrong are never explained. Luckily for me, there's a teacher at my school who can help me. Sometimes, the worksheets ask for phrases as answers. Some of them are written in a way that no native English speaker would say, and others are actually WRONG. If I didn't have a real teacher to ask about these questions my grades would be much worse. This course also depresses me the most, since the interactivity online courses can offer really CAN instill an actual understanding of mathematics, instead of the rote learning I've often experienced in classrooms. And there really are times when this course shines, when something clicks thanks to a little interactive part I can mess with. Instead, the one thing I'm most confident about in Algebra II is that I'm not close to learning as much as I could with a textbook, and definitely not learning what I need.
The piece of astroturf that is Jack's review below speaks volumes about Apex's integrity.
These guys are straight up unprofessional. As another review said, some of the answers are straight up wrong on their quizzes. Some were arguable, others vague, some must have been a clerical error when they programmed which choice was the right answer, and some didn't even have a right answer! For example, one question was "in paragraph 3 of the reading which one of these word pairs in not a 'adjective noun?'" And then they all were adjective noun pairs! Another time, a question asked for the tone of the italicized section of a reading, and then the digital copy of the selection had no italics, either because of some formatting issue or just straight up forgetfulness when they wrote up the PDF! In my AP Lit class, when my teacher returns my essays for feedback she writes "good," "insightful," "awesome," instead of actually analyzing my writing and criticizing specifically what I do wrong and praising what I do right. For one essay, (I am quoting this) the only things she wrote were ":)," "Powerful!" and at the end tacked on "Excellent job. This is one your of best pieces :)" This is a pitiful amount of effort from what is supposed to be a teacher for a college level class.
These guys have some stuff to figure out before I would take them seriously. I would not recommend them, they are too much of a hassle and don't teach well.
I have found many inconsistancies, especially when rounding numbers. Sometimes the quizzes will round things too little or expect me to round my numbers more. Also, I have noticed that there are way too many things that are sometimes straight out wrong. I would rather read things off of Wikipedia than use this so called structured learning program
U.S. and Global Economics
My daughter is finishing this course, and I have tracked her progress pretty closely. She is doing very well, but she is frustrated by the quizes and tests. The distractors in multiple choice questions are a real problem with multiple incidents of more than one correct answer and some cases in which the correct answer was not actually correct. I do not think that the author of the course was as careful as he/she should have been with terminology. My daughter kept a snapshot of the problem questions she plans to work into some sort of presentation in the future. Like anyone who takes one of these courses, she does not want to call too much attention to the problems because she got the credit - her primary goal - that allows her to take another elective next year.
Geometry and Spanish
Two thumbs up for Honors Geometry and Spanish. The APEX program made it easy to learn a lot of tough stuff. I liked it better than another online program I used. The programs are rigorous, but the interactive style really helped me "get" the material quickly.