A Homeschooling Mom's Guide to Navigating Acellus: View Student Progress
Acellus: Finding the Special Lessons, Hidden Library, Student GPA and More
Acellus can be a little confusing to navigate. This guide will help a parent of an existing student navigate the “View Student Progress” section and subsections.
What's Under the "Today's Work" tab?
A parent will be taken immediately to the "Today's Work" Portion, where a parent can look at all six subjects, and see what grades the child has accomplished in today's lessons. Each line can be clicked on. Let's use a second grader's work as an example. Pretend it says Grade 2 Science. Underneath that, it may say this: 317. Science Drill. An image of a green flag. The number "90". Then it says, "9 out of 10 Correct". The lesson is the Science drill, of course, the green flag means that the student passed the lessons. A blue flag would mean that the lesson is in process, and a red flag means that the student failed the lesson and may have to do it again. (In homeschool mode, in Acellus, the student will be tested again to give them another chance to pass). The final grade is given for that drill, review, exam, or lesson. In our example, it's a 90, which indicates that 9 Out of ten problems were correct. This individual line can be clicked. Upon clicking, we see the 'step title,' or the lesson name, and we see the individual lines of work that were done, the answers that were Given, and the Concept title. It also has time date and time that the problems were done, individually. You can view "All Work" or Today's work, or this week's work, or even this month's work. In this case, it shows "Space Drill." If I am curious to see what problem my child missed, I will click on the line that has a red letter X by it. In this case, I will click on problem 9. When I click on this line, Acellus takes me to the exact lesson area that the child saw within the lesson. This helps tremendously to see what the child needs helps with, or to see where or how they got confused within the lesson. Keep the volumes up, as many times the lesson's directions are said vocally. To replay that portion within the lesson, look for the "play" button on the upper right side of the screen, right under 'print page'. This page can be printed for further review. When a parent is done reviewing this, then click 'done' on the upper right side of the screen.
What's Under the Student’s Tab?
The Student's Tab simply shows the Students you want to view and gives you access to the Manage Account Screen. To go back to viewing student progress, click on the student name.
What's Under "Messages?"
Messages may be received by teachers in Academy mode. Messages are not sent and received in Homeschool and Tutor Mode.
What's Under the Score icon?
Score shows the parent this information: Class Name, Teacher, Goals, Grade, Progress, and comments. Parents can print Certificates of Completion for each subject once the child is completed. The first one to complete and print is student orientation. Unless student is an Academy student, it will say "Parent Taught" under teacher. Goals are based on the steps that one has entered previously under 'Manage Student.' A gold star means that a student is up to date with their goals, meaning that they are meeting daily and weekly goal objectives. The grade is straightforward, as it reflects the cumulative grade of all the lessons combined. Progress reflects how far into the course the child is. Some courses are longer than others. If the dark blue bar is close to the end, which means that the course is almost done. At this point, in Homeschool or Tutor mode, a parent can pick a new class after printing the certificate of completion for the completed class. A parent can print a whole report card for the week, month of semester on the bottom left of the screen. The top left of this screen shows the student’s' overall grade point average. A parent can choose what classes to view individually under the 'score icon,' and they can also choose which semester grading period to view and print. Clicking on a specific class, and then clicking on a specific grading period will show all the lessons done for that class within that grading period. These can be printed as well. Categories here can be picked to view, and these categories include Videos, Problems, Exams, Reviews, drills, and Books. Clicking on each line here will show the problems that were done, the answer given, and the time and date that they were completed.
What's Under Attendance?
Attendance is a printable, easy to read calendar that has a green square for every day that the child was in attendance for a particular class. In Academy mode, a yellow square means that the child was Tardy, and a red square means that they were absent. An orange square means that there was no school, and a blue square means that the absence was excused. A small white area under where it says "Totals" on the middle right side shows how many days the child was present for the month. The month to be viewed can be changed by clicking on the upper left-hand side and changing the month and year.
What Are Student Hours?
On my computer, Student Hours takes a while to load, so don't be too surprised for having to wait a bit for Acellus to generate this information. These student hours can be printed. It will show the month on the upper left-hand side, which can be changed to see the desired month. The date is on the left-hand side of the screen, and hours that the student spent in a class, per day, can be seen. Usually, these may be represented as a decimal point, as most students do not spend hours on a single class in one day. If one scrolls down all the way to the bottom, one will see the Month’s total hours’ worth of work completed, and also the year's total hours’ worth of work completed. Scrolling up and down, one can see how many hours were spent in each class. Usually, the core classes (math, science, language arts) will have the most hours, while electives may reflect a few hours.
What Is Live Monitor?
Live monitor shows a parent what the student is currently engaged in. If a parent wants to see what their child is working on, live monitor shows what subject is "Active," and it shows what they are working on within that subject. If a parent clicks on a line, it will immediately take them to the earlier screen we discussed where the GPA is shown.
What are Special Lessons?
Under special lessons, make sure you can see all classes, as only a specific class may be shown. If one sees a tiny blue arrow pointing to the left, click it to view all the classes offering special lessons. Special lessons offer extra reinforcement for items that were taught in Homeschool Mode. Special lessons are offered for classes such as elementary engineering, grade two language arts, grade 2 science, and middle school health and grade 2 social studies, to name a few. Special lessons can be journals, experiments, and word lists, for example. If I click on Middle school Health, for example, many special lessons pop up. One is called, "Maintain a Health Diary" and it encourages one to create a health diary, and to separate it by grains, vegetable or dairies. It encourages thought-provoking conversation regarding foods. Another special lesson under Middle School Health is Refusal Skills for drugs, which gives ways to say "No" to drugs. If I click on Grade 2, Language Arts, a special lesson involves writing a personal narrative using words like: I, me, my, we, and us. Spelling lessons with vocabulary words and bonus words are also offered. These can be printed out in two ways. A parent can print out a student resource for the student themselves. A parent can also print a teacher sheet, which includes the word, a sentence to use the word in context, and a worksheet with blank lines for the student to use when taking a spelling test. The student resource shows the word in bold font, a few fun images, and the bonus words as well. IT's mostly used for the child to study. Some parents may use these words to include in fun word-games throughout the week, while giving the spelling test using the Teacher Resource printouts on a Friday. That’s just an example of how special lessons may be used. They are definitely not required, but it's easy to see how they may be extremely helpful.
Special Lessons may be confusing, as Acellus does not dictate when to assign them in Homeschool mode. Some courses do not offer special lessons. It may be difficult to line up what special lessons match up with what lecture, especially in Homeschool mode, as Homeschool mode moves typically at one speed without any pauses or breaks. A parent may print out all the special lessons at one time and have them arranged in order and presented in notebook/workbook style, however. At this time, tutor mode does not offer special lessons, except as a rare exception.
What's Under "What's New?"
This section has the Roger Billings - Acellus Blog for Parents. The Blog is designed to provide tips and insights for Acellus parents to help their students succeed. Updated, essential announcements regarding changes and updates within Acellus are shared in this section. A recent, exciting changed was shared. The payment of the Acellus program for homeschooling has been lowered to $9.99 per month per student for Acellus Homeschool and Tutoring students. Or it can be paid as $99.99 per year per student. The blog mentioned that it wanted to make Acellus more available and affordable for families with multiple children. They mentioned that they wanted to create less financial hardship and increase awareness for homeschooling, especially with Acellus. Other updates included addition of AP European History in November 2017, and Spanish 2 was released in October 2017. Under "What's New," when a parent scrolls down mid-page, they will see two options appear in between the Acellus icon and the Student Sign in Icon. It will say "Info for Schools" and "Info for Parents." Under Info for Parents, a parent can pick from Homeschool services, Acellus Academy, or Acellus Tutoring. Clicking on these individually will give access to more information regarding that particular program. Also, it gives the "Live Chat" option hugging the middle right-hand side of the screen. The Live Chat is available to answer any questions one may have.
Hidden Easter Egg: A Library!
Students do have two extra options that parents can’t see. Under the Student Login, students have access to a “Library” and a Calendar. The calendar shows school events, district events, and days that are considered 'No School.' This calendar is mostly for Acellus Academy Students. The library contains many books that a student can 'check out.' As of January 2017, there are 285 books by different authors. The longest book on there is 483 pages long, and it's the Little Women book by Louisa May Alcott. Other books available for student check out include The Lost World and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Half the books are between seven to twenty minutes long. I mention these books because it's important for parents to know what resources are available to students. Most parents don't know that a small, free library exists and is available to students on Acellus.
Hopefully, this review will give a bit more insight on how to navigate the “View Student Progress” portion on Acellus. After familiarizing oneself with Acellus with this review, a parent can utilize every segment to its maximum potential.
Questions & Answers
How does a parent set the weekly goals for her homeschooled children?
I go to the parent side and look on the scores page. I hover over the progress bar, which tells me how many tasks there are in the course. Then, I divide that by the number of weeks he and I have decided that he's going to work on the course. I then round up to the next even number to set the weekly goals (video and quiz or review and test are two separate steps, but really the same lesson, so I try to keep them paired up).
© 2018 Charlotte Doyle