Frequently asked questions by Principals concerning QuickSmart (QS)

QS aims

  • What are the aims of the QS program?

    QS is a program to help under-achieving students in schools – two separate programs are offered, in Numeracy and Literacy. QuickSmart Numeracy and Literacy Programs: offer students a second (last?) chance to become active and confident learners in the classroom; improve speed, accuracy and understanding of basic mathematics and/or literacy (reading, vocabulary and comprehension) of students in Years 4 to 8 (9); facilitates students’ active engagement and participation in class; provide a sound foundation for further classroom instruction; and enable students to perform at levels comparable with their average- achieving peers on state-wide or standardised tests.

    Independent analysis of national test results for thousands of QS students’ show that they consistently achieve up to three years’ academic growth over a 30-week period.

  • How do I find out more about QS?

    There is a web site within the SiMERR National Research Centre at the University of New England,

    http://www.une.edu.au/simerr/quicksmart/

    that contains a great deal of information. Also a Google search on QuickSmart numeracy and literacy will also result in many hundreds of hits. If you are interested in data on the efficacy of QS you will find on the QS Web site under Research and then Research Evidence a plethora of reports.

QS Professional Learning and Training

  • What are the professional learning demands on staff?

    The QS professional learning involves six days in the first year made up of three two-day workshops. These occur at the beginning, after about 12 weeks and towards the end of the year. Participants who complete the training receive basic-skills QS training. Advanced-skills QS training is offered in the second year and involves three one-day workshops.

  • Who should attend the training?

    QS workshops are targeted at a broad audience. It is common to have present at workshops: Principals, other school Executive members, Teachers and Teacher assistants/Para professionals. The focus on quality teaching aspects and neuroscience in education means that there is learning and insights for all people involved in improving student learning. It is critical, however, that those people expected to assume the roles of QS Coordinator and QS Instructor attend.

  • Is there recognition for the training?

    All staff who successfully complete the training are awarded a QS Certificate as well as extensive documentation of the teaching standards addressed (for Executive members and teachers) and the professional competencies addressed for (for teaching assistants and para professionals).

  • What are registration requirements?

    All staff participating in QS workshops must register online prior to the workshop. This enables SiMERR to plan the workshop, provide all the required workshop materials and to provide all participants with a certificate of participation detailing the level and nature of their learning.

    Registration is online via a web site. Each school will receive by email the registration site web address, a school password and username. All staff attending the workshop use the same user name and password to access the site and complete their details in the ‘Register for Workshops’ fields.

  • How many staff should I send to the PD?

    Schools are invited to send up to five staff to the professional development series. Additional places may be offered depending on the total number of participants and venue limits. Please note that QS Instructors in your school do not have to be trained teachers. Workshops generally commence at 9.00 am and conclude around 4.00 pm.

    Workshops Two and Three will be conducted at three to four month intervals after the preceding workshop. The dates for these workshops will be determined with participants.

QS in the School

  • Who makes up the QS team in a school?

    The QS professional learning involves six days in the first year made up of three two-day workshops. These occur at the beginning, after about 12 weeks and towards the end of the year. Participants who complete the training receive basic-skills QS training. Advanced-skills QS training is offered in the second year and involves three one-day workshops.

  • Who should attend the training?
    1. The Principal or AP/DP take overall oversight of the program.
    2. A teacher takes on the role of QS Coordinator and manages the day-to-day issues, as well as mentors QS Instructors, prepares the QS timetable, oversights the testing, assists with the reports to the second and third workshop. It is valuable if this person is able to take a pair of QS students.
    3. QS Instructors provide the lessons to students. Traditionally these people are drawn from across the school, however, currently about 75-80% of QS Instructors are teacher assistants.
  • What is the role of the person who oversights the QS program (either the Principal, DP or AP)?

    This person: chairs School QS team meetings (maybe once a term or once a semester); oversees QS implementation and data collection; addresses implementation concerns where possible; supports staff involved in QS, especially in relation to other staff; oversees financial details; communicates with Regional/Diocese Cluster Officer and Region/Diocese Director.

  • What infrastructure is needed in the school to run QS?

    There needs to be a room or private area for QS. There must be space in this room for at least one workstation. A workstation involves a desk, three chairs, shelving (for worksheets and student folders), storage space for the games pack and resource kit, and a PC computer with a mic (one supplied). Some schools can accommodate five workstations in a traditional classroom. In such cases, ten students and five QS Instructors would be working at any one time. Some schools also include a white board for extended activities and wall space to celebrate student success.

  • What resources are provided by SiMERR to run QS?

    The resources supplied include a kit, master copies of focus fact sheets, work sheets and graph sheets. Games pack, a student folder example, other administrative support sheets, user guides, access to the QS web site resources and a three-year software licence.

  • What other expenses would be expected?

    There will be photo copying of worksheets, purchase of a student folder for each student, some costs associated with parent involvement (e.g., morning tea), purchase of additional mic if using more than one workstation.

  • How do we get access to the software?

    Once a school has been accepted into QS and SiMERR has a contact email, the Principal is provided with a school access code that enables entry into the Private area on the QS Web site. It is relatively straightforward to download the program onto a school PC. This should be done prior to the first workshop, and the loaded PC should accompany the School team to the workshop. At the first workshop sessions are dedicated to using the software and understanding its potential and place in QS.

  • What happens at the end of three years with the software?

    Schools can renew the license for a further three years for a modest fee. Currently, the second three-year license costs $1,500 plus GST and also includes a school report on submitted pre- and post-data.

Running the QS program

  • When do we start QS?

    Most schools are able to begin QS instruction within about two weeks of the completion of the first two-day workshop. Time is needed to prepare the room, select and pair the students, develop the timetable, inform the staff and parents, and undertake a light testing of all QS students as part of pre-test data and also to help establish where QS might most profitably start for each student.

  • When do we finish QS?

    Generally QS is expected to last about 30 weeks of instruction. This is sometimes difficult to achieve in the first year. This issue is discussed and clarified at the second workshop. It takes about two weeks to close the program down for the year. This includes post-testing each student.

  • Is it possible to purchase additional kits?

    Yes, additional materials can be ordered on-line once a school joins the program.

  • What happens if a student requires two years support?

    For most students 30 weeks is sufficient time to complete QS. However, there are some students who may require additional help and hence a second year. The data thus far shows that those students who do require a second year usually improve at a far greater rate in the second year than was the case in the first year. This issue is addressed in the third workshop.

  • How do we pick the students? What are the lessons like? What is the neuroscience and cognitive theory basis?

    Discussed at the first workshop.

Running QS

  • What is involved?

    QS consists of 30-minute lessons three times a week for 30 weeks. QS provides an individual student intervention program based on pairs of students. QS lessons have a consistent structure and involve very high student on-task time.

  • What can a school expect?

    QS offers a new way to address Numeracy (and Literacy) problems for students in the bottom 30% of the achievement spectrum. Data confirm: QS offers these students long-term cognitive growth well after they exit the program; QS improves student attendance rates and class behaviour; QS saves school resources in later years (secondary schools); QS effects transcend the targeted cohort and over time Principals report strong school-wide effects.

  • What staff time is involved in QS?

    Typically we ask for a minimum of 12 students (6 pairs) to undertake QS. There is no maximum to the number of students a school can enrol in any one year. The reason for the 12-student recommended minimum has to do with sample size in the data analysis for a school. (In some small schools this number is not possible and we accept this.) For 12 students the staff commitment of a QS Instructor is a minimum of ten hours a week, i.e., 6x1.5 hours=9hours plus one hour for preparation.

    There will need to be some time allocation for the QS Coordinator unless it is built into their role expectation in the case of an AP/DP/Principal.

SiMERR and Costs

  • SiMERR services and costs.

    QS is a program conducted by the SiMERR National Research Centre, housed at the University of New England. QS is a programmatic research program that has been in operation since 2001. Every site is a research site and there is the expectation that pre- and post-data on student performance will be collected analysed and reported.

    QS is a not-for-profit program within SiMERR, and every attempt is made to look for savings for schools who offer the program. For this reason we work to have schools from the same geographic region/area form a cluster. This spreads the cost of the program and means the cost burden on individual schools is reduced substantially. We also try to place clusters strategically so that it minimises staff travel costs for schools.

    We offer 9am-5pm (EST) support service five days a week, and an additional IT service for the software aspects of QS from 9am-12.30pm five days a week.

    The total price of the QuickSmart program is an all-inclusive cost for the program, the professional development (six days for up to five staff), data analysis and report, extensive resource materials, a three-year software licence, direct support of your school’s QuickSmart instructors by our staff, and ongoing phone and online professional and technical support.


Frequently asked questions by Users concerning QuickSmart (QS)