Maths-Whizz Best Practices

How to get the most out of Maths-Whizz

Maths-Whizz gets the best results with well informed teachers who schedule time for students to use Maths-Whizz, know how to view the online reports, and who engage parents to support Maths-Whizz use out of school.

Using Maths-Whizz effectively

Recommended usage for optimum results

Based on experience and our track record with students, Whizz Education recommends usage times for Maths-Whizz Tutoring Plus for students as follows:

Underachieving Students - 90mins

96% of students advance their Maths Age by more than 1 year in a year’s worth of usage, with an average progress in Maths Age of more than 2 years in the first year of usage.

The Majority of Students - 45-60mins

Expected average annual improvement in Maths Age is between 1.3 and 1.6 years.

Gifted and Talented Students - 30mins

Student will continue to be challenged and will see improvement.

Motivating Students

Present certificates at end of term for students who’ve earned most credits in each year group to create excitement and awareness around maths.

These recommendations are based on analysis of 4,077 boys and 4,310 girls, mainly aged between 5 and 11, using Maths-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 Maths-Whizz such as the study, the shop or even Replay, though the latter is useful for reinforcing concepts previously learned.

Scheduling usage, 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 Maths-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:

  1. Using lessons in computer suites as Maths-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 Maths-Whizz tutor.
  2. Breakfast and after school maths clubs, similar to above. Again, there is less pressure to have a maths specialist present, schools find a supervisor to oversee behaviour and attendance is often sufficient.
  3. Class teachers can set Maths-Whizz as homework, provided students have internet access at home. For example, a class can be assigned half an hour of Maths-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.
  4. Print out copies of the weekly planner and allow students to choose their schedule for home usage of Maths-Whizz.

Parental Engagement

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 Maths-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 Maths-Whizz Tutoring Plus helps to raise standards in maths.

Here are some suggestions for communication with parents:

  • Send a letter home to parents informing them about Maths-Whizz, how it is being utilized in the classroom (download Maths-Whizz sample letter)
  • Provide parents with website details and student log in information
  • Send a letter home to parents inviting them to a Maths-Whizz Parents Evening (download Parent Evening sample invitation)
  • 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 Maths-Whizz
  • Invite parents to a “Family Maths Night” where the focus is Maths-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 (download Family Maths Night sample letter)

Common Teacher Concerns

Does it replace a teacher?
Definitely not. Maths-Whizz cannot replicate the interaction between teachers and students in class. Maths-Whizz will get results with many students without teacher input, but to improve student performance across the board Maths-Whizz needs engaged teachers who show interest in their students’ development.
Am I creating more work for myself?
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.
If I involve parents will I end up with endless queries and issues?
We have only received positive feedback regarding parental involvement with Maths-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.
Will my students be confused if they are working on different skills in the classroom than in the software?
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 Maths-Whizz to classroom schedules is that Maths-Whizz will catch struggling students who fail to understand particular topics in class when they tackle them in the online tutor.
We don’t have time for implementation
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.
 I use Maths-Whizz for my at risk students and therefore not all students in my class will have an account. How can I manage this?
During the times you want the students assigned to Maths-Whizz using the program, provide the rest of the class with opportunities to review or practice their skills. As Maths-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.