Instructors', Teachers' and Principals' Comments

Feedback is routinely sought by asking various stakeholders to respond to evaluative questionnaires at the conclusion of the year's QuickSmart program in their schools. Some comments by instructors, teachers and principals are reproduced below.

"The children loved QuickSmart. They really enjoyed the instant graph evaluations of how fast and how many correct they had. Great tool for building on what children already know." [QuickSmart instructor, 2003]

"The majority of QuickSmart students achieved fantastic academic results, some advancing three bands in the Basic Skills tests. In-class assessments showed marked improvements. Learning Group Teachers noted amazing differences in self-esteem and the willingness to 'have a go' from students previously unwilling to participate in group activities." [QuickSmart instructor, 2005]

"In a way it's been a Godsend, because it allows children to have their needs met in a way that we can't always provide in the classroom." [Classroom teacher, 2003]

"Overall, children have shown good improvement in confidence and risk taking. They work with more confidence within groups and during individual work. Timed activities and assessments - this area in particular has shown improvement as the children are familiar with working against the clock." [Classroom teacher, 2005]

"The QuickSmart program has many benefits that can be offered to students to improve their literacy and numeracy skills. In addition, students in this program also experience a tremendous growth in self-esteem." [Special Education Coordinator, 2004]

"Prior to QuickSmart children who have missed out on skills and knowledge have displayed low self-esteem and self-confidence and no risk taking skills. Following QuickSmart, they become confident to take risks and see a more balanced equation between mistakes and progress. They learn to learn."[ Special Education Coordinator, 2005]

"I've used a number of intervention programs and I think the beauty of QuickSmart is that it works with a computer which monitors student's progress really carefully. It gives students a lot of feedback." [Principal, 2003]

"Children are always keen to go to QuickSmart. Parents note children talking about their work in the program. Teacher feedback has been very positive." [Principal, 2006]

In addition to the quantitative data that are collected and analysed to evaluate the effectiveness of the QuickSmart intervention programs, students, QuickSmart instructors, teachers, principals and parents are also given opportunities to provide feedback on their experiences and evaluations of QuickSmart.

Stakeholder Comment

A consistent theme expressed by students, parents and teachers during and immediately following the QuickSmart program is the increase in confidence that these students display in approaching academic tasks.

In a follow-up study in 2006, students from the New England area in Northern NSW who had been involved in QuickSmart between 2001 and 2005 were invited to be interviewed about their participation, and how QuickSmart had helped with their literacy or numeracy basic skills since they completed the program. Parents of these students were also given the opportunity to comment on the QuickSmart experience for their children. Up to five years later, students and parents reported positive attitudes towards learning, the ability to work independently, and maintenance of the confidence which had come with continued success in learning.

As John Bradbury (Numeracy Consultant, Curriculum Services Branch, Department of Employment, Education and Training, NT) explains, the qualitative data support findings of quantitative data analyses:

"Analysis of  the changes in student success between cohorts revealed a significant positive difference in favour of the QuickSmart cohort (t = 2.51 crit. = 2.01, p = 0.016). That is, the QuickSmart cohort showed greater gains from the baseline test to the post-test than the comparison students. While this method of analysis does not address overall achievement, it does confirm that students in the QuickSmart program are 'closing the gap' with their peers. This quantitative result corroborates the uniformly positive qualitative data obtained through feedback forms from participating students, their teachers and parents, which indicate that the QuickSmart program made a significant difference to student learning outcomes."