Best Practice to Produce Best Results in Mathletics
As a Mathletics trainer, one of the questions I get asked most frequently is how to interpret results. Other questions around this theme include:
How do I know when a student is working ‘at-level’?
When should I move a student up or down?
When should a student repeat an activity?
Where is the best place to get results (Results, Reports, Weekly Summary, Report Generator)?
How do I use the results?
Teachers asking these questions know how to differentiate (create ability groups in CLASSES), narrow the curriculum focus (hide/show topics in COURSES), and set tasks (assign activities in RESULTS). They drive a tailored program for their class that generates good usage, and now want to know how to use the data instructively.
Before we talk about results, however, we need to consider best practice for the student. It is only with good learning habits that the data will be rich, and that teachers can gain a complete picture of their students’ understanding of maths concepts.
Repetition is fundamental to mastery in Mathematics. The student that practises will have a greater opportunity to gain a lateral application of concepts, and thereby reinforce and consolidate learning. In Mathletics each activity produces 10 questions, which is often insufficient to demonstrate mastery. Teachers therefore need to encourage students to repeat activities when necessary. Remember, the activities generate new questions with each attempt, and they are also adaptive.
Mathletics has inbuilt motivators to incentivise the genuine attempt and repeat effort. Students earn points for being accurate, and credits for improving on their previous best score. It‘s not uncommon for students to repeat activities without being asked to do so, but for it to happen broadly in a class environment the teacher will need to model best practice.
Best practice for the student:
Complete assigned activities every week
If you score a Gold Bar (> 85%) with your first attempt, go onto the next activity
If you score a Blue Bar with your first attempt (50% – 84%), repeat the activity
If you score a Red Bar with your first attempt (< 50%), ask your teacher or a class mate
Now that students are at-level, on-task, and repeating activities when required, we can address the question of results.
Many teachers go exclusively to RESULTS to check on how their class is performing. RESULTS is also where you can set tasks, so it’s very convenient. However, if you’re familiar with the program you will know that RESULTS only provides the score for the final attempt. Therefore, to gain the complete story of a student’s learning you will need to go to REPORTS.
REPORTS enables the teacher to drill down to a graph that shows the result of every attempt for a particular activity. From over 1.1 billion answers in Mathletics over the past ten years, we know that students who repeat the same activity 3 times improve on average by 21%, and that 99% of students working ‘at-level’ will achieve a gold bar within three attempts.
Dr. Tony Stokes (Professor of Economics at the Australian Catholic University) recently completed an independent report showing that Mathletics delivers a statistical advantage in standardised testing. He found that for every three Mathletics activities completed there was a 1-mark improvement in standardised test performance, and that scores are maximised when an average of 80-120 activities are completed over the course of a year i.e. 2-3 activities per week across the academic term.