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Mobile Apps

Amazon math app aims to slow kids' summer learning loss

Available for Android, iOS and Fire OS, the free TenMarks Summer Math program normally costs $40.

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TenMarks

My sixth-grader has challenges with math during the school year, so I can only imagine what a three-month break is going to do to his already tenuous grasp of the subject.

Amazon company TenMarks is hoping to combat this kind of "summer learning loss" with its Summer Math Program, a personalized course tailored to nearly all grade-school students. Normally priced at $39.95, the program is free for the summer.

After signing up for a TenMarks account, you enter some basic info about your student: name, ZIP code, school and grade he or she will be starting in the fall. The program is structured for grades 1-8, but also covers geometry and algebra 1 and 2. With that done, you'll receive a username and password for your child, who can use it to sign into one of the TenMarks apps for Android, Fire OS or iOS.

From there, the app performs a diagnostic assessment to create a personalized summer curriculum, which reviews concepts from the previous year and introduces concepts for the next one.

As students work through it, embedded hints and video lessons refresh what they (hopefully already) know while teaching them new material. According to TenMarks, the "program adapts with targeted interventions for real-time learning assistance."

The app provides positive reinforcement in the form of badges and certificates, but you can also set customized incentives and rewards.

OK, but does it work? "In 2014, the TenMarks Summer Math Program helped reverse summer learning loss for over 69% of participating students -- in just 8 weeks, with one-hour of use per week, these students averaged a double-digit increase in scores from assessments conducted at the beginning and at the end of the program," said Rohit Agarwal, co-founder of TenMarks and General Manager of Amazon K-12 Education.

My kid may not be thrilled about it, but I guarantee some of his summer screen time will be spent with TenMarks.