Math-Whizz Best Practices
Math-Whizz gets the best results with well informed teachers who schedule time for students to use Math-Whizz, know how to view the online reports, and who engage parents to support Math-Whizz use out of school.
Using Math-Whizz effectively
Recommended usage for optimum results
Based on experience and our track record with students, Whizz Education recommends usage times for Math-Whizz Tutoring Plus for students as follows:
|Skill Level||Suggested time (per week)||Expected results|
|Underachieving students||90 minutes||96% of students advance their Math Age by more than 1 year in a year’s worth of usage, with an average progress in Math Age of more than 2 years in the first year of usage.|
|The majority of students||45-60 minutes||Expected average annual improvement in Math Age is between 1.3 and 1.6 years.|
|Gifted and talented students||30 minutes||Student will continue to be challenged and will see improvement.|
* Based on analysis of 4,077 boys and 4,310 girls, mainly aged between 5 and 11, using Math-Whizz Tutoring Plus for at least 6 months and an average of 12 months during the year ended 31st December, 2010.
Note that this represents time in the “Tutor mode” and does not include time spent in other areas of Math-Whizz such as the study, the shop or even Replay, though the latter is useful for reinforcing concepts previously learned.
IMPORTANT – key role for teachers and parents
Scheduling the appropriate amount of usage is key to getting the most out of Math-Whizz and measurably raising standards in math.
Scheduling usage and tips and support material
A key role for schools and for teachers is to drive their students’ schedule so that they can get the recommended usage of Math-Whizz Tutoring Plus. Because of the simulated tutoring aspect and online delivery teachers have great flexibility with creating schedules for individual students. Here are some of the approaches schools have used:
- Using lessons in computer suites as Math-Whizz Tutor mode sessions for students. The teacher can act in a supervisory role and provide individual attention to particular students in the knowledge that other students are having their individual needs addressed by the Math-Whizz tutor.
- Breakfast and after school math clubs, similar to above. Again, there is less pressure to have a math specialist present, schools find a supervisor to oversee behaviour and attendance is often sufficient.
- Class teachers can set Math-Whizz as homework, provided students have internet access at home. For example a class can be assigned half an hour of Math-Whizz tuition for homework per week. In the class reports available through the teacher login, teachers can easily monitor student usage over the previous week to ensure students have been putting in the work. This is easy to implement and extremely time efficient, as the teacher does not have to set specific lessons or mark the work. They need to just check the reports.
- Print out copies of the weekly planner and allow students to choose their schedule for home usage of Math-Whizz.
Parental engagement where appropriate
Allowing parent access to reports related to their children and educating parents to encourage appropriate usage can have a huge positive impact on performance, and improve communication between school and home. Parents can be a huge asset by cooperating with teachers to create a sustainable weekly schedule for Math-Whizz usage at home that supports in-school usage.
The diagram at the beginning of this document shows the ideal dynamic between teachers, students and their parents to ensure that Math-Whizz Tutoring Plus helps to raise standards in math.
Here are some suggestions for communication with parents:
- Send a letter home to parents informing them about Math-Whizz, how it is being utilized in the classroom. Provide parents with website details and student log in information
- Send a letter home to parents inviting them to a Math-Whizz Parents Evening.
- Set up a progress report schedule for your classes. Twice a term send home the student’s progression report, highlighting growth. Make the progress report a positive experience for the student, especially those that are struggling. This will encourage the use of Math-Whizz.
- Invite parents to a “Family Math Night” where the focus is Math-Whizz. Allow the students to show their parents what they are working on and how it works. This should take place after the students have been using it for awhile and know about the features – maybe the 3rd week of school/implementation.
Analysis of usage and performance data from live students that used Math-Whizz for at least 10 minutes per week for more than 6 months to December 2010 (8,387 students in all) produced findings summarized in the graph below (see proof pack for more details):
Ongoing professional development
Schools can greatly benefit from on-site professional development with a qualified Whizz Education Advisor. Advisors can work with teachers to maximize Math-Whizz service features and best practice to raise standards at your school.
Please contact Whizz Education on +44 (0)20 3328 6564 to find out more about our on-site professional development visits and annual packages.
Student motivational ideas
- Present certificates at end of term for students who’ve earned most credits in each year group. This creates excitement and awareness around Math-Whizz.
Common Teacher Concerns
- Question: Does it replace a teacher?
- Question: Am I creating more work for myself?
- Question: If I involve parents will I end up with endless queries and issues?
- Question: Will my students be confused if they are working on different skills in the classroom than in the software?
- Question: We don’t have time for implementation.
- Question: I use Math-Whizz Tutoring Plus for my at risk students and therefore not all students in my class will have an account. How can I manage this?
Answer: Definitely not. Math-Whizz cannot replicate the interaction between teachers and students in class. Math-Whizz will get results with many students without teacher input, but to improve student performance across the board Math-Whizz needs engaged teachers who show interest in their students’ development.
Answer: Teachers have generally experienced the opposite. Each student can be working on a computer on their own specific lesson needs, with only a supervising role for the teacher, leaving time for those students who need individual attention.
Answer: We have only received positive feedback regarding parental involvement with Math-Whizz. This also falls in line with government directives regarding parental involvement. On technical issues, an appointed school representative will be trained by Whizz to handle everyday queries, such as forgotten passwords. All users can refer to our customer services number with their questions.
Answer: No. Teachers tell us that the more often a topic is revisited, in different formats, the more likely a student is to retain that knowledge long-term. A student may see a topic for the first time in the textbook, and have it reinforced later in the software, and vice versa. One benefit of not linking Math-Whizz to classroom schedules is that Math-Whizz will catch struggling students who fail to understand particular topics in class when they tackle them in the online tutor.
Answer: We are very aware of time constraints on teachers. That is why we have a 4-step implementation process that requires very little teacher time; there is some teacher admin, and we do the rest.
Answer: During the times you want the students assigned to Math-Whizz using the program, provide the rest of the class with opportunities to review or practice their skills. As Math-Whizz Teachers’ Resource uses the same interactive and exam style question, you can assign other students to use this. By doing this, students who aren’t using tutoring will not feel left out.