QuickSmart Mathematics Intervention Program
The QuickSmart mathematics lessons begin with a review of the focus facts, starting with those already known, and move on to those yet to be remembered. Teacher-led discussion and questioning about the relationship between number facts and ways to recall them merge into simple mathematics fact practice activities, such as Three-in-a-Row and Same Sums. These games were developed to complement each set of focus facts and allow students to review and consolidate their learning in a motivating way. Flashcards and timed performance activities, such as speed sheets, are used to assist students to develop automatic recall.
In the last part of the lesson, students practise their skills independently on carefully selected worksheets that are closely related to the lesson content. Mathematics lessons usually conclude with a brief CAAS assessment. Both structured and incidental strategy instruction is a feature of the lessons, with the aim of moving students on from relying on slow and error-prone strategies, especially count-by-one strategies, to the use of more sophisticated and efficient strategies, including automatic recall. Once the program is established, at least one lesson a week focuses on problem-solving strategies and activities.
Structure of QuickSmart Mathematics Intervention Session
QuickSmart mathematics intervention strategies include a variety of short, focused activities that aim to increase students' strategy use and improve their automatic recall of basic number facts across all four operations. Mathematics intervention sessions include:
- timed recall of basic number facts from a targeted set of focus number facts;
- speed sheets that also relate to the same set of focus facts and include extension number facts;
- opportunities to consolidate the use of strategies for calculating number facts;
- the use of a prompt scaffold to solve mathematical problems and establish knowledge of problem-solving routines; and
- regular testing on tasks from the CAAS bank of mathematical tasks.
The Role of Conceptual Understanding in Learning
The primary aim of the QuickSmart intervention is to develop automaticity. QuickSmart lessons emphasise the development of conceptual understanding. Conceptual understanding is ensured by explicitly teaching strategies that emphasise the key concepts underpinning the academic skills being taught.
In the QuickSmart mathematics classes, for example, students are explicitly taught strategies that develop their understanding of key concepts such as place value. QuickSmart mathematics sessions aim to develop students' general number sense - their ability to identify and use number patterns, their understanding of the meanings of and relationships between the different operations, etcetera. These strategies are discussed explicitly and inform all the practice exercises completed by the learners.
QuickSmart mathematics lessons thus begin with a review of the current set of Focus Number Facts. In this initial review, students are encouraged to demonstrate their understanding of the required processes by discussing and explaining the strategies they are using. If students do not display reasonably proficient understandings, then QuickSmart instructors use lesson time to develop the learners' understanding to the level where they are proficient enough to benefit from practice.