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Assessment in the AoPS Online School

While there are no tests or quizzes in our courses, students are assessed in a variety of ways. All courses include Challenge Problems and Participation scores, while other assessment methods vary by course. Please look over the Subject Course Syllabi for a list of assessment components included in each of our subject courses.


Alcumus is our online learning system, which adapts to student performance to deliver practice problems at an appropriate level for them. Our Introductory courses (Prealgebra 1, Prealgebra 2, Introduction to Algebra A, Introduction to Algebra B, Introduction to Number Theory, Introduction to Counting & Probability, and Introduction to Geometry) all have Alcumus assignments. Alcumus automatically adjusts the challenge level of the questions it provides based on whether the student is student is having difficulty with or improving at a particular topic. Therefore, Alcumus offers both practice with fundamental application of core principles as well as the opportunity to extend those basics to solve challenging problems.

Short-Answer Challenge Problems

Each week's homework includes about 6-12 increasingly difficult problems each week that test of the student's ability to apply the key concepts of the week in different situations. Students only provide their final answer to short-answer problems, and students may attempt these problems as many times as they wish until they answer correctly or until they choose to give up. Answers to Challenge Problems are immediately graded by computer, so students receive instant feedback on their work. Students receive detailed solutions to all Challenge Problems.

Writing Problems

Writing Problems are the capstone of students' work each week in our subject courses. They require students to write a full solution, rather than just providing a numerical answer, so that students learn how to express their ideas clearly and rigorously. Student solutions are reviewed by our instructional staff, who provide a score along with personalized feedback on both the accuracy and presentation of their solutions. After submitting their own solutions, students are provided with a full, detailed solution to each Writing Problem.


We encourage students to join the conversation during the live class session! While the participation score is a small percentage of the overall score for each course, it encourages students to ask questions and make contributions in a group setting.

Grades and Progress

Student progress is tracked and communicated to students on their course homepage and in weekly emails. We also have tools for parents to track their students' progress. The automated data that we report to students and their parents is designed to communicate how much work is left to do and to motivate students to complete it.

We can provide grades for subject and computer science courses upon request. When we are asked to determine a letter grade, we'll start with the automated data on the class homepage but also look more deeply at all of the student's work for the full picture of their performance in the course.